Excerpt from Body For Life by Bill Phillips, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Body For Life

12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Fitness Forever

by Bill Phillips

Body For Life
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  • Published:
    Jun 1999, 203 pages

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The Breakthrough

When you gain control of your body
you will gain control of your LIFE.

A couple of years ago, I attended a fitness convention in Atlanta. It's one of only a few industry trade shows I attend, and therefore, it's one of the only times I come face-to-face with a large number of my readers at once. During the course of that weekend, hundreds of men and women who introduced themselves as avid followers of my magazine came up to shake my hand and chat. What struck me most about the entire experience--what absolutely floored me--was how strikingly out of shape many of these people were.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed meeting all these folks, many of whom had been reading my work for years. I even recognized a lot of their names. That weekend I think I met about 600 of my students. Maybe 80 of them looked fit and strong, but the others, who had been receiving the same information on exercise and nutrition, looked like . . . well, like they never had the opportunity to learn about how to get in top shape before.

On the flight home, I agonized over what I experienced that weekend. I knew then and there that in order to become a better teacher, I had to create a solution that would help these people not just get the facts but apply them. I knew I could help these people. I knew it was my responsibility.

Anyone who knows me at all or is familiar with me through my writing understands I firmly believe that a strong, healthy mind resides in a strong, healthy body. That, my friends, is a fact. When I see men and women who are out of shape, I see lives not fully lived. I see lost potential. I see people who need someone to help them realize they can look and feel better. That's what I see.

You simply cannot escape this reality: Your body is the epicenter of your universe. You go nowhere without it. It is truly the temple of your mind and your soul. If it is sagging, softening, and aging rapidly, other aspects of your life will soon follow suit.
I just don't believe that anyone in this world sets out on a journey to become fat and unhealthy, just as no one decides to become lonely or poor. What happens is, somewhere along the line, slowly and gradually, without even being aware of it, we give up. We give up our values and our dreams one at a time. When people let go of their bodies, it is, quite simply, the beginning of the end.

The night I got home from that trip, I couldn't stop thinking about it. What could I do to help these people apply their knowledge? I asked myself that question over and over again. I couldn't sleep. Then, finally, at about 1:15 in the morning, it hit me: They need a challenge. A competition. An incentive and the ultimate trophy--my blood-red Lamborghini Diablo.

I recalled how dreaming about someday owning that car helped me back when I was struggling to build my business--it helped me stay focused on my future and lifted my desire when I needed it most. I thought maybe it could do the same for the people I wanted to help--that it could be their driving force too. So, the next day, I put that Lamborghini up as the "Grand Prize" in the most unique self-improvement contest ever.

No one had ever tried issuing a challenge like this before, but something told me I had to do it, even though some people (including my dad, who's also my business advisor) let me know they thought the idea was crazy.

But I experienced something like the voice that whispered to Ray Kinsella in the baseball movie Field of Dreams: My instincts told me if I built it, they would come.

And did they ever...

More than 54,000 people from all walks of life signed up. Cops, cooks, and corporate CEO. Parents and grandparents (more than a few great--grandparents). Men and women who had never lifted a weight in their lives and a few seasoned gym rats who had been trying to build better bodies for years. The entries cascaded in, each individual accepting my challenge.

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Body For Life. Copyright (c) 1999 by Bill Phillips. Reprinted with permission from HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

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