So I'm on a 12-week transformation diet, but I want to make one thing clear: I was not a whale when I started. I was 240 pounds and roughly 20% body fat--not ready for the cover of MF, but not exactly the kind of guy who needed an intervention to save him from himself. I was a fairly fit dude who snacked a little too late at night, but otherwise looked and lived the part of a fitness editor for this magazine.

The question then, I think, is why would I want to put myself through the rigors of this program?
I was safe behind my desk. I have a training certification (a C.S.C.S., not some garbage, mail-order credential), so no one was likely to question my authority to dispense fitness advice. I have also seen the letters and e-mails over the years from readers who have tried the workouts I've written about and gotten amazing results. I could have let them back up my articles. I really didn't need to take an unflattering before photo (which you'll see in the magazine soon) and announce to the world that I was going to get in the best shape of my life. After all, I'll bring inescapable humiliation and shame on both myself and the magazine if I fail.
But that ain't gonna happen.
I'm doing this for all the reasons you can think of and for all the reasons you can't.
First and foremost, I guess, is that I'm going to be 30 soon. I don't want to wake up at 40 in even worse shape, wondering what it would have been like to be in my "prime" when I was in my prime. Sure, you can get in shape at any age. But the reality is that it will never be easier than it is now. That's consolation when I think about how tough this gets sometimes.
I need to know what I can look like, feel like, and do at my best.
I also want to prove that the training and diet methods that I've been writing about for the past seven years are the best in the world. Issue after issue, I've been promising that with a little consistency, a guy can make outstanding progress in a short period of time. You don't need to have a Hollywood trainer or nutritionist in your corner, or the genetics of a Greek god, or weekly steroid injections to look like the guys on our covers. I'm going to prove it with myself as the guinea pig.
Above all else though, I believe in challenging one's self. Especially when you don't have to. Consider this: I interviewed Oleg Taktarov two years ago. He had been a fighter in the early days of the UFC. He was a legend, and has since gone on to appear in bit parts in various movies. When we spoke, he was about to return to MMA competition for one more fight, though he was well into his 40s. "I need to refresh my blood," he said. After all that he had accomplished, Taktarov still felt he needed to challenge himself periodically to feel alive. Resting on his laurels made him feel soft. Old. As they say in MMA, you're only as good as your last fight. And what is a legend, really, but a story about something that happened a long time ago--so long that people tend to doubt if it was real.
Long story short, Taktarov refreshed himself and won that fight. He was for real.
I'm going to show you I am too.