Fitness Editor's 12-Week Challenge

In February, I decided to undergo a 12-week body transformation. Naturally, when I first started telling people, they wanted to know what I was planning to transform into. "A woman?" (thanks Dad). "A werewolf?"

My goal was to lose 20 pounds of fat while adding 20 pounds to the big three lifts--the squat, bench press, and deadlift. As a fitness editor, I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that I had 20 pounds of fat to lose (and then some, as I later found out), but I'll explain more about how that came to pass in a future post. To put it succinctly, I felt like I wasn't in the shape I should be, and I wanted to challenge myself to get there fast.
So I'm in my seventh week now and it's going pretty well. I've lost 22 pounds and my strength has increased steadily. Before I lay out what I've done to get this far, let me tell you what I HAVEN'T been doing.
  • Long, slow cardio. I don't run on the treadmill for 45 minutes to an hour. I never have. I never would. If that's what it took to get lean, I'd rather be one of those guys who sits so long on the couch that his skin begins to bond to the fibers and he becomes a freakishly obese mutant "Couch Man". I'm not saying this is a bad idea for everyone, but long runs ain't for me.
  • Following a well-balanced, all-inclusive diet. I've been eating healthy, but I have put severe restrictions on carbohydrates. I'll get into the why and how of this another day, but my approach to dieting is admittedly a little extreme. I'm not part of the club that lets you eat anything you want, just a little less of it, if you want to lose weight. Again, I'm not saying that approach doesn't work, but it's not what I'm doing.
  • Light, high-rep sets of weight training. My goal is to get stronger, but even if it were purely to shed fat, I wouldn't do sets of 15-20 reps with one of Barbie's neon dumbbells (though it seems to be an unwritten rule in gyms everywhere, especially among women, that you have to). I haven't done more than five reps on my main lifts, and the weights are heavy enough that I need to hear James Hetfield's growl or Ice Cube telling me how he's got a gat pointed at my ass to lift them. (If you don't get these musical references, chances are YOU aren't lifting heavy enough.)
Did some of these points shock you? Are you surprised that someone can make fast progress with this approach? Check back here next week and I will reveal more of the program I'm following, the big brain behind it (not mine), and some tips on how you can make awesome changes yourself. 
Sean Hyson
Fitness Editor

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