Fail to plan, plan to fail


MAKE sure you have a goal or vision, a long-term goal. I really can’t stress it enough.

Without a goal it’s difficult to structure or design a plan. It’s like setting off in your car and not knowing the final destination. You’ll drive more in hope than certainty.

So if you fail to plan, you are most likely planning to fail.

Give it some serious, considered thought. Imagine where you want yourself to be, physically, years from today and work backwards. Then think about what you need to be doing to get there.

When it comes to physical training, working out without a purpose is just working out for the sake of working out. It’s not building towards anything. And the chances are you will, after a while, either become bored, disappointed, injured or just give up and say it wasn’t working or producing any measurable results.


The Amazing 12 has a clear goal: to make you the best physical version of yourself in terms of strength, fitness and physique within a three-month training cycle.

But then what?

That’s where the bigger goal comes in.

A common question I am asked about the Amazing 12 by those considering it is, ‘What do I do when I’m finished?” or “what comes next?”

You have this great body that you can now do so many things with and you are scratching your head.

I look at them like the world will be their oyster and usually reply something like, “whatever you would like to do.”

The Amazing 12 can be undertaken for a variety of purposes and/or reasons. Are you just trying to get into better shape? Do you want to shift weight? Do you want to improve your athletic performance? Have you been skinny your entire life and want to bulk up, but get stronger and fitter in the process? Are you a competitive athlete looking for an edge? Are you someone who likes and wants a challenge and to explore their limits? Are you someone who just has a desire to improve the way you look? Are you getting married and want to feel and look at your best? Have you been training for years and not seen any changes? Are you someone who thrives on structure and needs something that provides that as well as guidance and motivation? Do you find it difficult to make progress without any accountability? I could go on. The list is endless.


But I understand there is query about the aftermath: what do I do then? It’s an important question. From a dietary perspective, the A12 has that answer covered. With regards to training, the answer is ‘it depends’.

It comes down to the individual and whether they set themselves targets or are motivated to keep improving or have desires to keep learning new skills or further developing the ones they have. But I’d like to think that whoever invests financially and in terms of effort and time and commitment into doing this program will see it as important to make the choice to take care of themselves afterwards and keep building on the foundation that will be in place.

Why work that hard and let it all go? It would be foolish not to capitalise on it and that means continuing with some form of training/exercise or taking up a sport or embarking on another challenge.

Making exercise or training a part of your regime should be a lifetime commitment.

That’s why this program is life-changing: you come out the other side a different person in a different body ready to take on the world with a different attitude, having formed newer and healthier habits.

Empty asphalt road towards cloud and signs symbolizing success a

Your body has to last you for the duration of your lifetime. Why wouldn’t you take care of it and have a lifetime plan in place?

What the Amazing 12 CAN’T guarantee is you will remain in the best shape of your life. It can’t do that any more than a dentist after a check-up can ensure your teeth will forever remain free of cavities or a surgeon who repairs an injury can insist the troublesome area will never flare up again.

But it is in your hands, just as it would be your responsibility to keep brushing your teeth or adjusting your lifestyle and training in such a way as to avoid the same injury occurring.

The Amazing 12 CAN be a launching pad to further challenges and it can serve as a program that satisfies physical, emotional and dietary needs and provides the type of learning that enables a graduate to become more athletically self-sufficient for the future and it can be just the ticket for someone who knows they have potential but by themselves can’t or don’t now how to fulfil it.


“It is a shame to grow old without ever seeing the strength and beauty of which your body is capable.”

There are now hundreds of graduates from around the world testifying to the effectiveness of the Amazing 12 and here are some examples of those who have used the program to great effect.

Ben Mattingly, who runs The Forge in Cork, Ireland and has had dozens of Amazing 12 graduates walk out of his doors, picks out one of his outstanding clients who has been through the program now three times.

“She’s a machine,” is how he described her. “You name it and she can do it.”

This machine is a lady who came to him with an eating disorder and, by getting fitter and stronger, has moved to a healthier place.

Stephen Kiely, who runs Be Strong Training in Penrith, just outside of Sydney, Australia, points out how he’s had two of his A12 female graduates go on and compete in powerlifting and one man enter into strongman competition. Another of his graduates went on to be victorious in an international Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament.

“Whatever you want to happen after the A12 can happen,” he said. “You have set yourself a great baseline in strength and conditioning to prepare you for almost any endeavour.”

Shanna Jo Martinez, based out of Ramona, California with an extensive training background in kettlebells, strength training, nutrition and sports medicine, offered her perspective.

“I have a client named Gary. He is 62 and feels like he’s had a completely new lease of life. He’s not unfamiliar with training, but prior to the A12 had only met with his trainer once per week.

“On the A12 he gained so much strength and is now in his second round. He understands that training for life is key and that a body in motion will stay in motion. He is believing it because he is living it. He golfs better, sleeps better and feels better overall. His confidence and ability to stay on track with nutrition, which was a huge stumbling block for him in the past, is very high. He feels like he can continue to do this for a lifetime whether he is in a coaching program or not.”

Michal Radar Vratny became an Amazing 12 coach the same time as I did. He runs several successful gyms in the Czech Republic.

He told me in particular about one student he had, named Lucie. “Before the A12 she was interested only in wine, food, parties and books,” said Michal. “She did scam diets when she felt she got too fat, lost a lot of kilos, but also a lot of hair and muscle [she ate approximately 750kcal a day]. She thought she should do Jillian Michaels and eat low fat food.

“Prior to A12 she never did ANY sports and thought weights were for idiots. She could not hold herself on the pull-up bar. She was one of the weakest people I ever met.”

But then the transformation happened and you should see her now.

“After the first round of the A12 she managed 3 pull-ups, deadlifted 100kg at 60kg bodyweight, benched 65kg and was in great shape,” said Michal. “She told me she ate the highest amount of food ever and still lost fat!

“Fast forward one year – she can do pull-ups for sets and reps, trains handstands and on gymnastics rings. She knows very well what to eat and when and even writes a blog about training. She drinks only on very rare occasions, is in the best shape ever and enjoys eating [before, she would feel guilty anytime she ate something]. She created a habit and stuck with it.”


More recently there was Kristin (above), a mother of four on her second round of the Amazing 12. She trained with Gan Power, who has been prolific in delivering superb transformations at his gym in Waterford, Ireland.

Why did Kristin do it again? In her words: “Having done the Amazing 12 last year I knew exactly the results this program gets, so the decision to do it again was an easy one.”

A second round isn’t going to be everybody’s option or choice. But at the end of the Amazing 12 you should be not only be more confident in your ability to train, but also significantly more physically capable and that opens the door to so many possibilities.

Set yourself a challenge and, with your new body, go for it.

*Want to be a part of the next wave of the Amazing 12 Chichester beginning September 5? A few places are remaining for someone who is driven, wants results, has a positive mindset and an open mind. Message me if you would like to be considered. 

The No-sit challenge


I WANT to set you a challenge. A no-sit challenge.

Here are the rules. No sitting on any furniture for an entire day. If that sounds too hard, try for two hours to begin with and then add another hour each time you try it. Or set yourself a time that you think you can achieve, but would prove challenging. I’ll make an exception for when you have to drive your car, but, if you want to be hard core, take public transport instead and stand. Or, better still, use a bicycle.

Sitting on the floor or in the bottom of a squat is permitted. You can also kneel on one leg or both or keep switching. But the aim of the challenge is to use your body more, not less. Use it or lose it, as they say.

Pick a day when this is most practical, like a non-working day, and report back to me with your results. Observe how it makes you feel, what you do instead of sitting and how your body responds.

So why the no-sit challenge?

I’m a sit-less advocate. As a fitness instructor, I have clients who come to see me to get into shape or fitter or stronger or all of the aforementioned. However, I know that what I prescribe in one hour is only a part of the transformation. What goes on outside of the gym is equally, if not more important and I’m not just talking about food intake.


Here’s a quote from biomechanist Katy Bowman that touches upon some of my concerns: “The social conditions that promote inactivity have been building for decades”.

From my experience, the factors that MOST undermine success from fitness training are (a) lifestyle choices (b) a lack of patience.

The following is a fairly typical chain of events for many people: wake up, SIT at a table to have breakfast. Go to work, either by SITTING in a car or SITTING on a train or bus. Arrive at work and SIT for hours at a desk. During lunch you will probably find somewhere to SIT and eat. On the way home the pattern is repeated. SIT on the train or bus or in the car. Arrive home. SIT down for dinner and then SIT on a couch or sofa and watch TV. Go to bed and lie down for between six-eight hours.

That adds up to a lot of sitting, stillness and lack of movement. Our bodies adapt to the demands – or lack of – that we place upon them. So should we be surprised when our bodies adopt the form that they do and begin to fail us? And is it realistic to believe just a few hours in the gym or exercising each week will reverse or offset that?

So my point is that we sit far too much, dramatically reducing our activity levels, while shortening and stiffening our muscles and much more that I won’t even go into here. All of which undermines the work you put in at the gym or your chosen activity and, over the long term, leads to our bodies crumbling long before they were ever supposed to.

Grab a piece of paper and do an approximate and honest calculation of the average number of hours you might spend each day sitting down.

It’s not what our bodies were designed for. We were built to move.


And, when you really think about it and look around you, you will see how everything in our culture of comfort and ease and instant gratification is designed to make us move and do less: we have lifts and elevators and moving walkways and transportation vehicles and lazy couches with remote controls so we never have to stand up. In fact, I heard the other day that Denver airport in the US doesn’t even have a set of stairs!

If each day you train or do physical activity for one hour, but spend, say, eight hours lying down asleep and, cumulatively, a further 7-10 hours seated or hunched over a desk staring at a computer, what shape will your body most likely adopt and how will this affect the way your body performs? Multiply this by weeks and years and you can see the larger problem facing humankind.

For many of us it all starts when we go to school. The average time a child will spend seated at a desk during their school life (in western society) is 15,000 hours! Think what that can do to your body and spine over time.


The challenge facing children is being addressed in some quarters with, for example, initiatives to introduce standing desks to classrooms. This is in the early stages, but the initiative has shown many benefits, including burning more calories, less body pain, improved attention, greater flexibility, increased productivity…

In California, for instance, Juliet Starrett, wife of Kelly Starrett (of CrossFit fame), started a campaign for standing desks called Standup Kids to improve the health of thousands of children. It’s now slowly spreading throughout the US. There are movements like the Chair-Free Project that are now gathering momentum as we realise the harmful of effects of too much sitting.

Ever wondered why children, especially boys, shuffle in and swing on their chairs? It’s not always because they need the toilet! It’s because they can’t get comfortable. Children at that age want to move. But with the rise of electronic devices and less outdoor play, that is going to change rapidly, which is a subject matter for another day.

Why do I allow floor-sitting in my challenge? It’s a better alternative because it permits our bodies more movement and to adopt more postures than sitting on a chair.

This challenge is to make you more aware of what sitting and lack of movement does to us – how it makes us more lazy and inactive and, eventually, broken and sick.

BUT here’s the really good and life-changing part: YOU can do something about it.

Kari (June 2016)


THE day after completing the Amazing 12, Karien Gladman took part in the World War Run in Dorking. She was a little apprehensive beforehand as during the Amazing 12 we hadn’t done a lot of the type of endurance work she had been used to. Kari therefore wasn’t entirely sure how her fitness would hold up.

I got a message from her. “Excellent race,” she said. “Loved the mud as always. I was so strong doing obstacles. Successfully completed several I would not have attempted before. Great feeling!”

Obviously, it wasn’t as bad as anticipated and further proof what the Amazing 12 can do for fitness as well as strength and physique and so many other aspects of our being.

But I wasn’t really surprised. What I noticed about Kari more than the strength gains and physical changes was the rise in her confidence. Here was a South African mother (of a grown-up son who recently graduated from university with a masters degree) in her mid-forties who was unsure of herself in the gym and, in particular, around weights. She’d tried CrossFit, but always favoured the workouts and movements that suited her strengths – mainly cardio.

Kari was described as a ‘plodder’. Now, though, she is anything but. Over the course of three months, I watched her blossom under the barbell. And this lady has real staying power!

“This experience has made a bigger impact on my life than I thought it would,” she said.

Kari considered it a survival-type experience as it was all so new and there was the diet to adhere to.

“The last week, especially, felt that way” she said. “The Amazing 12 worked me in many ways…discipline, determination, limited calories, spurring your team members on. And, and, and…I now realise it [the Amazing 12] was not just about the fitness.”

Kari got the results she was looking for and worked hard for it. “Thank you so much for this experience,” she said.

“I look exactly the way I want to look. My body is toned, my shoulders are not too big.”


Kari had her moments of uncertainty and a few days when she was off-colour, but, generally, her consistency was her strong point.

“Although there were times when I wondered how this would work out for me, I knew I had to believe in you and the program and ride it out,” she said. “I am so much stronger now. I am believing in myself and my abilities so much more.”

And yet Kari has the potential to go much further. I took her as far as I could within 12 weeks – and the photos show clearly how she got leaner and more muscular – but, especially in the areas of strength, I feel we only scratched the surface.

“This has opened an Aladdin’s cave for me,” she said. “I love feeling strong. I am walking with my head held high.”

Kari seldom, if ever, complained. She’s the type of person you give instructions to and she tries her best, always attempting to maintain a calm exterior. And, as a coach, all I can ever ask for is that my students offer their best effort. She missed in total three days (because of work commitments) – two in week 4, one in week 9 – but was always devastated to have to do so.


I remember one particular session when Kari suddenly realised – for the first time – that she actually had muscles. Tall and slender, Kari was smitten with her biceps. But I was seeing changes in her physique, strength, movement and performance throughout.

I recall how at the start she was finding it difficult to military press for reps with 12.5kgs (27.5lbs), yet by the end she was working with 27kgs (59.4lbs). Similarly, her bench press working weight went from 12.5kgs (27.5lbs) to 33kgs (72.6lbs). Kari’s back squat for multiple reps more than doubled – from 17k (37.5lbs) to 36k (79.2lbs). Best of all was her deadlift. We started with unbroken reps using 30k (66lbs) and finished at 72.5k (159.5lbs)!

Kari was a pleasure to work with and get to know. The above numbers underline her progress and successes. The photos illustrate all Kari’s hard work and what happens when effort, improved eating and intelligent training are all combined. Now she can feel immensely proud of her achievement, enjoy her new body, put it to use and, armed with more confidence, set about attacking the many other challenges on her bucket list.

How did she enjoy the program? “Loved it,” she said. “Loved it!”

Now she’s considering doing a six-week version of the program – usually reserved for those who have already done 12 – in the New Year.

*Do you want results like Kari’s and/or to transform your fitness, strength and physique? I’m looking for a few more committed individuals for the next wave, beginning on September 5 at Core Results Gym. Places are limited. If you would like to know more about the Amazing 12 Chichester program, please contact me at