The Superhero Challenge - 12 Weeks to a New Body
The Superhero Challenge - 12 Weeks to a New Body
Superhero movie season is rapidly approaching. Before you know it, an endless parade of superhero bodies will be hitting the big screen. In 2017, we'll be seeing the return of Thor, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Wolverine, Spiderman, and the Fantastic Four. Also debuting at theaters will be the Justice League and Wonder Woman.

Let's make 2017 also be your year to shine. It's time to come out of your mild-mannered shell, and blossom into the fit and ferocious crime fighter you were destined to be. Or something like that.

Vigilante justice aside, we all want to look good. Who wouldn't be satisfied with a body worthy of superhero status? I sure would.

Related: Squat Every Day Challenge and Workout

This challenge is designed to help you lose fat, improve your health and overall physical conditioning, and to make you look damn good in tights... Or yoga pants. Or heck, it's designed to help you look better naked. Let's pull no punches here. After all, this is about being superhuman.

Are you up for the journey? Are you willing to make epic sacrifices in order to finally get your body and life back on track? Then these 12 weeks were designed for you. There are three phases to the challenge:
  • Act One - The Origin (Weeks 1-2). This is your break-in period. You'll gain confidence and establish good habits. Your new superhero powers will be explored. Fat will start to drip off, strength will improve, and you'll be primed and ready for the epic battle that lies ahead.
  • Act Two - The Battle (Weeks 3-8). It's game time. Villains await around every corner. You'll be going to war with yourself during these 6 weeks. Supersets will push you close to the brink, but you'll respond back with mighty blows, rising to the occasion and fighting back hard and strong.
  • Act Three - The Rebirth (Weeks 9-12). The final, and defining leg, of your superhero story. By this time you are starting to look better in the mirror and perform with amazing vigor in the gym. You are starting to hit your stride and feel like anything is possible. It's time to finish strong.

Superhero Challenge Cardio Plan

SuperheroDuring the next 12 weeks we will keep cardio simple. Strive for three to four sessions per week. Cardio should be performed first thing in the morning or after each resistance training workout.

Don't become cardio obsessed. Diet is your number one fat loss mechanism. You should lose a couple pounds per week by simply remaining in a slight calorie deficit. Cardio might only burn off one pound of fat per month, max.

Remember these rules:
  • Use diet to lose fat.
  • Use cardio to improve cardivascular health and conditioning.
  • Use resistance training to build that fit, muscular, superhero physique.
  • Use all three to improve overall health.
Here are your two cardio options. Try to improve speed and performance from session to session, and week to week. Remember your goal. After this program is over you want to be powerful, fit, muscular, and have improved conditioning. Push yourself during these cardio sessions.
  1. 10-15 minutes of HIIT cardio.
  2. 20-30 minutes of steady state cardio.

Superhuman Challenge Diet Plan

You will be running a strict diet over the course of the next 12 weeks. Meal plans are comprised of three parts:
  1. Morning meals and snacks. Here you will eat exactly what is listed in the plan. No exceptions. Times are for example sake only. You can be slightly flexible. Meal timing isn't as important as the food choices and overall protein intake goals.
  2. Evening calories. You are provided a calorie total and a minimum protein intake goal. You can eat whatever you want with these calories, as long as you do not go over the total, and you reach the minimum recommended protein intake goal. These calories should be eaten after 5pm, and can be consumed as a single meal, two meals, small snacks, or any variation thereof.
  3. Free calories. You are alloted a certain number of free calories per week. These can be used at any time, morning or night, to satisfy a craving or fend off hunger. Your free calories can also be used for the occasional alcoholic beverage, should you so desire one.

Eating Plan for Men



Men will be eating 2,300 calories per day. This excludes 1,000 weekly free calories, which can be eaten at any time. Save them for a cheat meal, or the occasional random craving. Factoring in free calories, your daily calorie intake will average 2,450 over the course of a week.

During your first week on this eating plan you will experience water loss. You are eating less food, and consuming smaller amounts of carbs, sodium, etc. Weight lost during this week will be higher than normal, and will not be sustainable week in and week out.

After the first week, if you are not losing 2 pounds per week, drop your nightly calories by 200 per day.
  • Morning Calories - 1400
  • Evening Calories - 900
  • Weekly Free Calories - 1,000
Here are your morning meals and snacks. Times are for example sake only.
  • 7am - 3/4 cup cooked oatmeal. Mix with 1 scoop of MTS Whey Protein (or similar brand), and 8 medium strawberries.
  • 9:30am - Ounce of almonds, three ounces of carrots/carrot sticks, one 6 ounce container of Fage Total 0% Greek yogurt.
  • Noon - 6 ounces of chicken breast, 4 ounces of tomato salsa, 3 ounces of black beans.
  • 2:30pm - 6 ounces of 93% lean ground turkey over a 3 ounce bed of fresh spinach. Apple.
  • Post-Workout - 1 scoop MTS Whey (or similar brand). 2 ounces of blueberries.
Evening calories and minimum protein intake goals are:
  • Calories - 900 total, from any food choices, and using any combination of meals and snacks.
  • Protein - 75 grams, minimum.
Superhero

Eating Plan for Women

Women will be eating 1,400 calories per day. This excludes 1,000 weekly free calories, which can be eaten at any time. Save them for a cheat meal, or the occasional random craving. Factoring in free calories, your daily calorie intake will average 1,550 over the course of a week.

After the first week, if you are not losing 1.5 to 2 pounds per week, drop your nightly calories by 150 per day.
  • Morning Calories - 800
  • Evening Calories - 600
  • Weekly Free Calories - 1,000
Here are your morning meals and snacks. Times are for example sake only.
  • 7am - 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal. Mix with 1/2 scoop of MTS Whey Protein (or similar brand), and 5 medium strawberries.
  • 9:30am - 3/4 ounce of almonds, two ounces of carrots/carrot sticks, one 6 ounce container of Fage Total 0% Greek yogurt.
  • Noon - 3 ounces of 93% lean ground turkey over a 2 ounce bed of fresh spinach.
  • 2:30pm - Apple, hard boiled egg.
  • Post-Workout - 1/2 scoop MTS Whey (or similar brand). 2 ounce of blueberries.
Evening calories and minimum protein intake goals are:
  • Calories - 600 total, from any food choices, and using any combination of meals and snacks.
  • Protein - 35 grams, minimum.

Superhero Supplement Plan

Here is an optional supplement plan. It will help with hormone balance, recovery, muscle repair, fat loss, and function as a nutritional backup plan.
  • Insurgent - 30 Minutes prior to workout. Helps boost total and free testosterone.
  • Ruckus and Vasky - The ultimate pre-workout stack for workout energy, performance, and muscle pumps. Take 30 minutes prior to lifting.
  • Tyrant - Hardening agent, anti-estrogen and cortisol support.
  • Machine Greens + Multi - Drink your fruits and veggies. Also includes a multivitamin formula.
  • Drop Factor - THE thermogenic powerhouse.

Act One - The Origin Story

You will be lifting four days per week during this break-in period. After the first several major movements you will find intense, 60 second blocks. Perform as many reps as possible during these 60 second windows.
  • Monday - Upper Body A
  • Tuesday - Lower Body A
  • Thursday - Upper Body B
  • Friday - Lower Body B
Upper Body a
Monday Workout
Exercise Sets Target
 Barbell Bench Press  3  8 Reps
 Push Ups - As many reps as possible in 60 seconds  1  60 seconds
 Lat Pull Downs  3  12 Reps
 Assisted Pull Ups or Pull Ups - As many reps as possible in 60 seconds  1  60 seconds
 Seated Alternating Overhead Dumbbell Press  3  12 Reps
 Pike Press  1  60 seconds
 Cable Triceps Extensions  3  12 Reps
 Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curls  3  12 Reps
Lower Body a
Tuesday Workout
Exercise Sets Target
 Squats  3  8 Reps
 Bodyweight Lunges - As many reps as possible in 60 seconds  1  60 seconds
 Leg Curls  3  15 Reps
 Mountain Climbers - As many reps as possible in 60 seconds  1  60 seconds
 Leg Extensions  3  15 Reps
 Standing Calf Press  3  15 Reps
 Plank  3  60 seconds
Upper Body B
Thursday Workout
Exercise Sets Target
 Seated Overhead Barbell Press  3  10 Reps
 Push Back Push Ups - As many reps as possible in 60 seconds (See video below for demonstration)  1  60 seconds
 Dumbbell Row  3  12 Reps
 Inverted Rows - As many reps as possible in 60 seconds  1  60 seconds
 Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press  3  12 Reps
 Chest Dips - As many reps as possible in 60 seconds  1  60 seconds
 Dumbbell Triceps Extensions  3  12 Reps
 EZ Bar Curls  3  12 Reps
Lower Body B
Friday Workout
Exercise Sets Target
 Leg Press  3  12 Reps
 Box Jumps or Step Ups - As many reps as possible in 60 seconds  1  60 seconds
 Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlifts  3  10 Reps
 Wall Sit  1  60 seconds
 Goblet Squats  3  15 Reps
 Seated Calf Press  3  14 Reps
 Ab Wheel Roll Outs  3  10-15
How to perform push back push ups.

Act Two - The Epic Battle

Time to shine! This six week block will help you to build muscle and burn calories. Make sure to nail your meal plan and get in your daily protein.
  • Monday - Upper Body A
  • Tuesday - Lower Body A
  • Thursday - Upper Body B
  • Friday - Lower Body B
Upper Body A
Monday Workout
Exercise Sets Target
 Superset:
 Bench Press  3  10 Reps
 Push Ups  3  25 Reps
 Superset:
 Lat Pull Downs  3  15 Reps
 Straight Arm Lat Pull Down  3  10 Reps
 Superset:
 Seated Alternating Overhead Dumbbell Press  3  12 Reps
 Dumbbell Upright Rows  3  10 Reps
 Cable Triceps Extensions  4  12 Reps
 Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curls  4  12 Reps
Lower Body A
Tuesday Workout
Exercise Sets Target
 Superset:
 Squats  3  10 Reps
 Box Jumps or Step Ups (Reps are per leg)  3  15 Reps
 Superset:
 Leg Curls  3  15 Reps
 Mountain Climbers (Reps are per leg)  3  30 Reps
 Leg Extensions  4  15 Reps
 Standing Calf Press  3  15 Reps
 Plank  3  60 seconds
Upper Body B
Thursday Workout
Exercise Sets Target
 Superset:
 Seated Overhead Barbell Press  3  10 Reps
 Upright Rows  3  12 Reps
 Superset:
 Seated Cable Rows  3  15 Reps
 Two Arm Dumbbell Rows  3  10 Reps
 Superset:
 Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press  3  12 Reps
 Dumbbell Flyes  3  12 Reps
 Dumbbell Triceps Extensions  4  12 Reps
 EZ Bar Curls  4  12 Reps
Lower Body B
Friday Workout
Exercise Sets Target
 Superset:
 Leg Press  3  15 Reps
 Bodyweight Lunges (Reps are per leg)  3  15 Reps
 Superset: 
 Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift  3  12 Reps
 Wall Sit  3  30 seconds
 Goblet Squats  4  12 Reps
 Seated Calf Press  3  15 Reps
 Ab Wheel Roll Out  3  10-15 Reps

Act Three - The Glorious Rebirth

The final leg of your journey. If after these 4 weeks you feel like you have more fat to lose, start the program over from the beginning.
  • Monday - Chest and Triceps
  • Tuesday - Legs
  • Thursday - Shoulders, Traps and Abs
  • Friday - Back and Biceps
Chest and Triceps
Monday Workout
Exercise Sets Target
 Bench Press  3  10 Reps
 Superset:
 Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press  3  12 Reps
 Push Ups  3  25 Reps
 Machine Chest Press  4  12 Reps
 Pec Dec  4  15 Reps
 Cable Triceps Extensions  3  15 Reps
 Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extensions  3  15 Reps
Legs
Tuesday Workout
Exercise Sets Target
 Squats  3  8 Reps
 Superset:
 Leg Extensions  3  15 Reps
 Bodyweight Lunges (Reps are per leg)  3  15 Reps
 Dumbbell Stiff leg Deadlift  3  12 Reps
 Leg Curls  3  15 Reps
 Leg Press  4  15 Reps
 Seated Calf Raise  4  15 Reps
Shoulders, Traps and Abs
Thursday Workout
Exercise Sets Target
 Seated Overhead Press  3  10 Reps
 Superset:
 Side Lateral Raise  3  15 Reps
 Push Back Push Ups  3  150-20 Reps
 Machine Overhead Press  4  12 Reps
 Reverse Lateral Raise  4  12 Reps
 Dumbbell Shrugs  3  15 Reps
 Ab Wheel Roll Outs  3  10-15 Reps
back and Biceps
Friday Workout
Exercise Sets Target
 Dumbbell Rows  3  12 Reps
 Supersets: 
 Seated Cable Rows  3  15 Reps
 Pull Ups or Assisted Pull Ups  3  10-25 Reps
 Lat Pull Downs  4  12 Reps
 T-Bar or Machine Rows  4  12 Reps
 Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curls  3  12 Reps
 EZ Bar Curls  3  12 Reps
Note: You must be pushing for progressive overload during these 12 weeks. When you are able to perform the listed number of reps for each set, add weight.

I suggest using the same weight for each set of a given exercise. Push each set hard, using good form. Strive to add weight when it makes sense. If you aren't pushing for strength gains you will severely limit your muscle gains, and how you look at the end of this program.

Push! Get stronger.