Weight-loss reality shows tend to operate from the same predictable template: Gather a group of heavy contestants, throw them in a gym with a tough-yet-encouraging trainer, and set them out on a pound-shedding race toward a big payoff (be it a million dollars or their dream wedding).
Extreme Makeover breaks that mold. Over the course of an hour, you watch Chris Powell and a single client from their first meeting to the final weigh-in--365 days later. There's no competition. No teams. No faraway ranch filled with state-of-the-art gyms. Powell's clients have to juggle their jobs and relationships just like anyone else. (Is it hard to find time to work out because of life obligations? We can help). And though the amount of weight they have to lose may be staggering, their struggles are relatable: They battle the same frustrating plateaus and have the same urges to give up as anyone else.
Powell doesn't rely on quick fixes to gain results. "Anyone can withstand a brutal month of excessive exercise and calorie restriction," he says. "But that's just not sustainable." Instead, he focuses on realistic ways to fit in fitness on a regular basis, favoring do-anywhere body-weight moves and fast-paced cardio intervals. This kind of simplicity has a powerful side effect: Checking off multiple workouts a week instills confidence and makes exercise part of your lifestyle, which is the secret to lasting weight loss. "After a week of meeting your goals, you'll feel incredible. After two weeks, you'll consider yourself unstoppable. By the time you hit six months or a year, there will be nothing you can't do," says Powell. (Need a reminder of the great things you can accomplish? Download this free motivational poster.)
Whether you have 10 or 200 pounds to shed, this three-month plan will get you started. But we won't bail on you there: Get three more three-month plans throughout 2012 at WomensHealthMag.com. This will truly be the year you transform your body—and life! (Click here if you still have doubts about your ability to lose weight this year).
VIDEO: The dos and don't of hydration and nutrition for maximum performance.
Your Makeover Starts Now:
Whether you've never walked into a weight room or you merely took a holiday-season hiatus, this exclusive 12-week plan from Powell was created with you in mind. It's designed to torch fat and tone muscle, while taking into consideration that you may not be in your best shape--yet.
Each week, you'll complete three strength-training routines and two or three cardio intervals. During the first four weeks, your goal is to build muscle and nail proper exercise form. In month two, your workouts will be done at a faster pace to help you boost speed, power, and cardiovascular endurance. Finally, month three is all about blasting the fat that's covering that lean muscle you've been working so hard to develop by utilizing supersets (two moves done back-to-back with no rest in between).
Each of these plans spikes your metabolism and keeps it revved for hours afterward--and because you'll be switching things up, you won't get bored. Best of all, you don't have to slave away in the gym for hours. You'll ditch your extra weight in about 30 minutes a day.
Total Body Transformation - Month 1: Build Muscle, Perfect Form
Total Body Transformation - Month 2: Boost Speed, Power and Endurance
Total Body Transformation - Month 3: Blast Fat and Get Lean