What do you think of when you hear strength training? Huge guys and bulky girls doing bicep curls, with six-packs you could never get? Meatheads hoisting heavy weights, clanking barbells and plates you don’t know how — or want — to use? If you’ve always pictured having a fit, strong physique but don’t know which program will get you there, DailyBurn’s new Live to Fail (LTF) may be the answer. All you need are two sets of dumbbells and a box — no gym membership or pricey personal training sessions necessary. Skeptical you won’t see results? DailyBurn trainer, Ben Booker, may just convince you otherwise.
Meet LTF’s Trainer
Ben Booker wasn’t born with a six-pack. Fitness was always a part of his life, having been a basketball, football and track athlete in high school, but so was alcohol. It was an endless cycle for him — four months of training, followed by three months of drinking. And in his senior year of high school, everything changed. After a night out drinking, Ben got into a near-deadly car accident, leaving his back broken in two places. He was charged with a DUI and had his license suspended, at which point he turned to weight training.
“When I started rehab, I lifted weights to try to get back in shape,” says Ben. “I used a hypertrophy program, targeting specific muscles with a designated rep range and minimal rest, which breaks down the muscle tissue so that it grows as it repairs itself.” Ben stuck with this program long enough that his body began changing. “People started coming up to me saying ‘Hey, what are you doing because it’s working.’” Ben freely shared what knowledge he had and realized how much he enjoyed helping others with fitness.
Though it took a little more time, Ben also took control of his drinking. For years, he wasn’t able to step out of the comfort zone of the life he knew. But when he finally asked for help in 2006, the small-town Illinois-native was able to rebuild himself and find his true potential.
“If you think you have it all figured out, you don’t,” says Ben. “You have to be humble, which by definition means being able to remain teachable. My biggest gains in life have come from my most humble moments, when I’ve been on my knees, asking for help, not knowing where I was headed. It’s not until we cross that line that we can experience who we really are.” Hitting that point of failure and being able to grow from it became the seed for Live to Fail, the workout program he went on to develop with DailyBurn.
The Workout Program
So what does failure mean in the context of fitness? Think of it as failure to maintain pace or to be able to stay with a specific weight for a prescribed rep range. We aren’t talking about a one-rep max failure. It is about safely overloading the targeted muscle, within that rep range, for a designated result, also known as hypertrophy and definition through maximum calorie burn by keeping your heart rate high. After all, the concept of building muscle is the process of breaking it down (failure of muscle strength), to rebuild it stronger to handle the load.
With those fundamentals at its core, LTF is a strength training program for men and women who truly want to change their bodies. If you dread spending hours at the gym on the treadmill or elliptical to get in shape, these workouts will change your mind about fitness. Each 35- to 55-minute session requires only two sets of dumbbells and a plyo box. Not sure how to even begin choosing your dumbbell weight? Ben talks you through a test to determine the correct weight for you.
During the first six weeks, you’ll do a video a day with exercises that target a specific muscle group, with four sets of 10 to 12 reps, and minimal rest. The second six weeks ups the intensity with higher reps and some supersets. Ben and the LTF team will be there to help you maintain proper form and guide you to failure on moves you might not be familiar with. “Failure comes in many forms and is different for everyone,” says Ben. “That’s what I love about this program. It’s for people who have never stepped foot in a weight room before — as well as gym rats who lift on the regular. As long as you show up every day, we’ll help you get the results you want.”
Nutrition Plan and Supplements
As with all fitness programs, nutrition plays an important role. LTF provides users with a full nutrition plan, complete with a formula to calculate the amount of protein, fat and carbs you’re allotted daily to hit your macronutrient goals. Nervous you’re not cut out for “dieting?” This is no starvation diet — the plan is designed to deliver the quality nutrients your body needs during periods of high-intensity training. LTF lays out meal plans and lists of foods that complement the workout program, helping to keep you full, energized and in the best position possible to make strength gains.
“It can be a lot to start a new fitness and nutrition plan at the same time,” says Ben. But you can’t out train a bad diet. Just ask Josh Christensen, who lost 30 pounds, while gaining significant muscle definition after completing the LTF program. “You have to be all in or it won’t work,” he says. “I know because I’ve tried other programs without the nutrition and nothing happened. Once I educated myself and learned what to eat, the changes started coming.” Within a few weeks of starting LTF, Josh noticed strength gains and that he was losing fat. The nutrition and fitness components of LTF are designed to work together in order to get optimal results.
Nutrition also includes supplements — but don’t let that word scare you. These products get their name from being able to “supplement” for the calories, protein, vitamins and nutrients that you should be getting but aren’t able to through food. “I believe in these supplements and use them every day,” says Ben. In order to get optimal results from LTF, here’s what the program suggests:
- Pre: Taken 30-45 minutes before workout; gets you focused and energized to maximize workout
- Post: Taken immediately after workout; includes many beneficial nutrients like BCAAs, glutamine and vitamin C to keep you from getting sore and help start the recovery process (for more info on pre and post-workout supplements, click here)
- Creatine: Taken before workout; a highly recommended product if you want to gain muscle and size (women can take, but in smaller doses — Pre already has the recommended amount for women in it)
- Fuel-6: Vegan, dairy-free, soy-free and gluten-free protein powder taken post-workout or anytime during the day in the form of protein shakes; helps get you more protein if you’re not able to get enough through whole foods
- Multivitamin: Taken in the morning with a meal; helps you get the vitamins and nutrients your body needs daily, such as Omega-3 fish oil
Why Try It
There’s no shortage of programs promising to get you ripped — fast. You may know firsthand that many, if not most, fall flat. That’s why LTF sticks with you for 12 tough but transformative weeks — providing you with workouts, nutritional advice, and the motivation you need to keep you on track. If you show up and put in the work, the results will follow — muscular arms, washboard abs and well-defined legs, chest and back. And for ladies, this program will build strength and definition all over — without adding bulk. But the physical transformation is just the beginning: Commitment to your fitness will help you think clearer, sleep better, focus more at work, and have more confidence.
“I believe there are four big aspects in life: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual,” says Ben. “When you push yourself physically, it can help you mentally and emotionally. Finding that clarity and balance that can come through physical fitness, by pushing your body to failure and then moving past it, that’s how we become stronger. And that’s what LTF is all about.”
If you’re looking for a strength training program that will change you, try DailyBurn’s Live to Fail program here, free for 30 days.
Note to reader: The content in this article relates to the core service offered by DailyBurn. In the interest of editorial disclosure and integrity, the reader should know that this site is owned and operated by DailyBurn. Neither these products, nor the statements herein, have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition.