THE greatest changes in appearance and increases in strength on the Amazing 12 program come towards the end. But here’s the catch: you need the first 10 or so weeks under your belt in order to maximise and trigger those benefits.
Everyone nowadays seems to want to take shortcuts. We want to gain in five minutes what normally requires much longer.
But many things are worth waiting for. Why? Because otherwise we miss out on the process and it’s in the process that we learn and grow the most.
When I look at the Amazing 12 program, I don’t just see the difference between the starting photo and the end one. That’s just the cherry on the cake – a visual display of hard work and dedication. It’s the cover on the book, so to speak. But the words on the pages tell the true story.
Having nearly guided my Amazing 12 Chichester crew through their journey at Core Results Gym, I see how they’ve grown stronger or overcome different challenges or learned from their failings or developed a different mindset or understood the importance of eating and sleeping well or noticed that it takes more than just training to reach optimal health or realised how vital it is to move well or they feel a sense of pride in having lasted the course or improved their technique in one or multiple lifting/movement skills or have proved to themselves they are stronger and more determined than they thought possible. I could go on and on.
It’s not just a program to enhance appearances. Amazing 12 boss Paul McIlroy says it best. “If you’re looking into the mirror and who’s looking back is someone not in shape, with low self-esteem and weak, then that is NOT the real you.
“The real truth is that the transformation took place a long time before the Amazing 12 – and took years to achieve by eating tons of junk food and being doggedly determined to move as little as possible. So what you see in the mirror is NOT you.
“What the Amazing 12 program does is transform that person back into the virile human being they were in the first place!”
That’s why my motivation and desire as a coach is to instill in my clients and those who read about my work the importance of leading a healthy life and what that actually entails.
I understand that there is genuine confusion as to what ‘healthy’ really is amidst the mass of conflicting information and advice and that the average person’s comprehension of nutrition and movement and the negatives of their lifestyle choices is as limited as their motivation to change even when awareness is increased.
The Amazing 12 is about building confidence (for self-esteem), muscles (to make us leaner and protect our joints and heart), endurance (for resilience and usefulness), discipline (to take on the jobs we have to do even if we don’t want to), knowledge (so we are equipped to continue when it’s over and make informed choices in order to improve our healthstyle) and emphasising commitment (the turning up no matter what).
The Amazing 12 Chichester is now coming into the final week, the time where the emphasis is on reaching a peak. And the challenge now is to be focused and pay attention to the little details I have given them in order to achieve the best possible results.
They have worked hard and should want to see and feel the full extent of their efforts. There’s no crash-dieting involved or use of synthetic products or dehydration.
From Day One the priority has always been to eat as cleanly as possible, drink lots of water, exercise intelligently and sleep abundantly.
Even though a few of them haven’t followed the program exactly or have struggled with sleep or have missed too many sessions to say they’ve done the Amazing 12 as prescribed, week 12 is worth experiencing. With the exception of Adriano, who graduated in 2015, none of them has been through it before.
But that’s what life should be about: new experiences. It teaches us new things about ourselves. Getting to know ourselves and evolving is, for me at least, part of life’s fascination and joy and purpose.
Some new experiences are greater than others. Some of my group dislike any change. So I purposely move things around – for example, I try not to do back squats in the same place each week or set equipment up exactly the same way or use the same bars for lifting. And I’ve encouraged them to try new foods and ways of eating and strategies for continuing with a healthy diet and challenged them to break patterns of thinking and behaviours/habits that don’t serve them well.
The Amazing 12 changes throughout, but often in too subtle a way for it to become a concern.
However, what they can do now is vastly different from what they could do when they started in January. They’ve taken micro steps. It’s one reason why the Amazing 12 works so well. It encourages you to allow yourself to become stronger, because while strength is a skill – and therefore must be practiced and honed – ultimately it comes down to whether the body feels a given task is too great a threat or not. Confidence is key and confidence can be destroyed by being overly ambitious or impatient.
When I look back through my records of what Stacey, Ben, Jo and Adriano have achieved, it’s quite astounding.
Jo knows she’s become much stronger – in spite of skipping sessions and falling off the wagon with the diet for several weeks. So has Ben, who was set back through injury briefly, and Adriano, who has already surpassed what he achieved two years ago. And Stacey, who at the beginning said she was “shocked” by how much strength she had lost after becoming a mum, is now doing for reps more than what used to be her maximum when she was in full training.
However, irrespective of the physical successes and changes, it’s going to be easy after the Amazing 12 has finished to slip back into making the choices and living the lifestyle that prompted the need for change in the first place.
There will be a sense of now-it’s-over-and-I-can-do-whatever-I-want. But I can’t stress enough the importance of resisting those urges, for obvious reasons.
Lifestyle matters – GREATLY.
I’ve spent a lot of time talking about it because it is such an critical factor in how healthily we evolve and perform and how we look and, most importantly, our susceptibility to disease and illness which dramatically impacts our quality of life.
Some of us may be at a genetic disadvantage but Dr. Sara Gottfried, who I’ve written about previously and has studied over 2,500 research papers on our genes, says that “90 per cent of the time” our illnesses and sicknesses and demise is caused by poor lifestyle choices.
If that isn’t a clear warning to take more seriously how you choose to live and take care of yourself I don’t know what is.
It means we’re mostly not genetically predisposed to certain illnesses or being overweight. We have the power, through choice, to determine what path we take.
And, in my opinion, a massive and integral part of any plan to stay well should include exercise/movement and resistance training in addition to resting and eating healthily.
So if you’re interested in my next Amazing 12 wave (over eight weeks, starting in May) or want to learn to lift and join one of my ladies weight-lifting groups on a Sunday morning or are interested in an upcoming course on using kettlebells or would like personal training sessions, send a message to Claude@intelligentstrength.co.uk