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SUCCESS: Jo dropped 8kg, the weight of the kettlebell she’s holding (Photo: Sue Saunders Photography)

DURING the final week of the Amazing 12 Chichester, Jo Walsh celebrated her wedding anniversary and Ben Brundle had a birthday. Both came to train at the gym on those respective days.

It’s not that they put the training first. They put themselves first. That’s what getting fit, strong and healthy is all about. 

While it may sound selfish – and a lot of people have a hard time reconciling that – the reality is that it’s incredibly selfless.

A stronger, healthier, more vibrant and confident you helps everyone you come into contact with.

However, it wasn’t always straightforward for Jo and Ben. Each struggled through the Amazing 12 in their own way. For Jo it was commitment and diet and Ben understanding what to eat and when and taking responsibility for that.

But there are many positives to take from their experience. Firstly, both made it to the finish. Not everyone does that. Jo became stronger and fitter. There can be absolutely no doubt about that. She was even showing me her biceps on the penultimate day, saying “I can actually say I now have muscles”.

For example, I had her do an endurance test on the prowler which the fastest girl at Core Results could complete in just under 2 minutes.

In week one, at which point Jo hadn’t done any exercise for about 18 months, it took her 4 minutes 49 to complete. Jo was shattered. The same test, at week 11, took her 2 minutes 50 and though she was tired at the finish, Jo wasn’t as wrecked as the first time she did it.

MULTI-TASKING: Jo’s a good lifter and determined when she puts her mind to it

During the weeks when Jo was fully committed, the changes to her physically were extremely noticeable. But then she’d lose her way again, her commitment would wane and whatever gains she made would recede.

But it’s those weeks when she had her head together and was focused, organised and driven that Jo should savour. Because that’s where the promise is. That’s where the formula for success existed. That’s where there was more than a glimmer of hope. Had she completed the 12 weeks the way she did those weeks this would be a vastly different story.

CHANGES: Jo clearly firmed up despite struggling with the diet    (Photo: Sue Saunders Photography)

“I’m most pleased about how much stronger I am,” she said. “I can say I faithfully followed the program to week 7, but, as you know, I struggled afterwards.

“Thank you for your support. I didn’t put in 100 per cent, so I don’t hope for 100 per cent results. But I am glad I did the program.”

Jo has fought with depression for about a decade. “I think my depression would have been worse without it [the Amazing 12]. Some days the gym was the only thing I (literally) got out of bed for.”

She found getting out of bed early to go for runs the toughest part. Jo’s not a morning person. She said she did it (running) for four weeks and then stopped.

PROMISE: Enough progress was made in the weeks Jo followed the program rigidly to see what the future could hold      (Photo: Sue Saunders Photography)

So, considering she didn’t run for eight weeks or follow the nutritional plan for the last five and attended 80% of the gym sessions, losing 8kgs (17.5lbs) was an achievement and more than halfway towards what was her overall weight-loss goal.

She weighed 15st 8lbs at the start and finished at 14st 5lbs. Her body fat went from 46% to 42% and muscle mass from 29.5% to 32%.

It’s clear to see, because lean muscle is a fat-burner, that the more muscle you have the less fat your body holds on to. Nothing builds muscle better than lifting weights.

“I don’t plan on stopping,” said Jo after the photo shoot. And she hasn’t. She’s been in for a few weight-lifting sessions with me, has been doing some yoga and running sprints uphill in a group organised by my wife, Jamie, who also did the Amazing 12 Chichester.

Jo’s always had solid lifting ability. She’s strong in the bench press and much better than I recall her being at shoulder pressing. I saw muscles on Jo I hadn’t recognised before.

She can be so determined when she wants to be. By her own admission, she’s an “all-or-nothing” person.

But that can change. I’m a firm believer that anything can change. ANYTHING! But you have to want it and work at it. Not for a moment or weeks or months. But until you make it happen.

When she used to belong to a weight-lifting group around 2015, Jo’s best shoulder press for one rep was 30k, but on the Amazing 12 she got to 32k for reps. Similarly, her best bench press for three reps used to be 46k and Jo reached 49k on the Amazing 12 for repetitions, a number that would undoubtedly have been much higher had she not missed as many gym sessions as she did.

Jo has aspirations to one day complete a chin-up or pull-up. Of course, it can be done. But the same rules about commitment, consistency and patience apply.

I hope Jo takes from her experience the successes she had so she can build on them as well as a healthy view of where she faltered so she can work towards overcoming those challenges the next time they appear.

The great thing about Jo is that while she had many ‘falls’ doing this program, she kept getting up. And that she’s continued since the Amazing 12 was completed shows she has the spirit to eventually succeed.

CAMERA HAPPY: Ben’s at home in his jeans (Photos: Sue Saunders Photography)

For Ben, whose devotion to the training side of the program was first class (he came to 95% of the sessions), the obstacle was diet and sleep.

Had been able to nail down the eating he’d have had stunning results. I’m in no doubt about that. By the time he had wrapped his head around it, most of the program had elapsed.

It made it more difficult that Ben got up each day early for work and sometimes didn’t hit the pillow until late. Towards the end he was working double shifts – day and night – which is madness. But he has a baby on the way and needed the money.

BACK TO THE FUTURE: You can see how Ben lost body fat and packed on some muscle (Photos: Sue Saunders Photography)

Probably no-one made as much progress in terms of strength gains than Ben, who was a raw beginner (no previous lifting experience).

I remember the week before the Amazing 12 started, when I gave Ben a few training sessions to show him the movements. He struggled with 8kg dumbbells on the incline bench press and I had to drop him to 6kg. By the end of the Amazing 12 he was doing multiple repetitions of the same movement with 25kg! That’s an improvement of more than 400%!

HARD WORKER: Ben never faltered in the gym

Ben did pick up a chest injury around week 7 that he felt was going to derail his chances of finishing the program. It affected his mojo, for sure. It took Ben over a week to get back into his stride. We had to taper off the weights to protect the injury and build him back up.

Again, I recall before the A12 how he struggled to shoulder press with 12kg for reps, yet finished the program knocking out repetitions with 47.5kg!

He couldn’t squat without his heels coming off the floor or deadlift with a flat back, yet learned those movements really well over the weeks and grew in strength. He was deadlifting 85kg for reps with ease. He has so much more potential.

Fitness-wise, when he first did the prowler test it took him 2 minutes 45 seconds. He gave everything he had and was shattered. Ben eventually got his best down to 1 minute 44 seconds by week 11 – not too far off some of the fittest guys at Core Results.

Ben was a pleasure to train. He was usually first to turn up at the gym. He helped put away the weights and get them out. He didn’t grumble. He learned techniques quickly.

POTENTIAL: Ben’s strength progress was immense     (Photos: Sue Saunders Photography)

However, in the process of losing body fat, recovery, sleep and nutrition is critical.

I’ve said this before but will repeat it again: results on the Amazing 12 can only be achieved by the individual.

To do that, you have to show up, follow the instructions and do the work.

As Phil Earley, one of my Amazing 12 coaching colleagues in Newcastle, has said, “This is the Amazing 12, not the Miraculous 12!”

What Ben’s experience has confirmed to me is that no matter how hard you train, you won’t get the results YOU DESERVE without following a healthy eating protocol and getting sufficient and quality sleep each day.  

Lifestyle gets in the way of results. For Ben and Jo, that was often the case. But they now know where to focus their attention the most.

The next Amazing 12 starts on May 8 (8-week version). The next Amazing 12 will be in September. If you want to be a part of either wave, send an email to Claude@intelligentstrength.co.uk. You need to be committed. Then the results will follow. 

Adriano (April 2017)

The transformation (photos: Sue Saunders Photography)

I ONCE (back in 2015) questioned whether Adriano Satta had the commitment to do the Amazing 12 Chichester. He has now successfully graduated twice!

He made me eat my words two years ago when, to test him out, I asked him to turn up every day for a week to show me he could do it. Of course, he did. 

Now he’s one of the most committed clients I’ve worked with. I’m not sure if it’s becoming a dad or husband (his wife Stacey also just did the Amazing 12) that has made the difference. But over the 12 weeks he attended almost 92% of the gym training sessions and the few he missed were only because he had to travel to Africa for work for nearly a week during the third week.

Because of his busy schedule, we had to shuffle training sessions several times to make it work. Adriano runs his own business and travels to London several times each week. More than once he got stuck in London during the tube strikes. But he would try to find any way he could to get to the gym in time. 

Sometimes we rearranged training sessions for the early morning so he didn’t have to miss out. It was always at Adriano’s request.

MAKING PROGRESS: that’s what the program is about

Tired or worn out or ready for action, Adriano, a former Italian paratrooper in his younger days (19), came in and gave it his all. He was dedicated to getting the best results.

It’s fair to say his first transformation saw him get leaner. But this time round he became stronger and packed on more muscle, which was his aim.

SIDE VIEW: Adriano beefed up through the chest, back and shoulder   (Photo: Sue Saunders Photography)

Being of a small build, gaining muscle had always been difficult. Had he not missed that one week, his progress would have been even greater. Adriano, 40, visibly bulked up his chest, back and shoulders. He dropped body fat and weight, too, going from 68kg to 65kg.

He took nearly a week off after the Amazing 12 and then I retested his strength levels. He had never previously deadlifted more than 95kg, but safely did 115kg!

His back squat went from 80kg (for one rep) to 90kg (for two) and with good form. He did a solid strict shoulder press with 73% of his bodyweight.

Like several others on the program, Adriano came into it unable to do a single chin-up, despite having managed to do them on the Amazing 12 in 2015.

NEW FRONTIERS: Adriano doing chin-ups with a weight attached

By week 11 this time he was knocking out chin-ups again without difficulty and during our strength session managed one with 14kg attached, something he’d never achieved previously.

“I’m very happy with my results,” he said.

Conditioning, though, is an area he wants to concentrate more on as he feels this is his weakness. Adriano has aspirations to do an Ironman triathlon within the next few years.

On the prowler test during the Amazing 12 he struggled for 3 minutes 5 seconds in week 1, but got his best time down to 2 minutes 11 seconds. That’s a significant difference for a short challenge.

Across the board, Adriano made progress. He matched or exceeded what he achieved first time in every movement. For the initial weeks during his first Amazing 12 we had to concentrate a lot on honing the techniques and making sure his form was not compromised, but this time around he executed nearly everything with far greater skill.

I can remember him struggling to press 8kg dumbbells on one movement in 2015, but he was capable of working with 18kg this time. 

NOT JUST FOR SHOW: Adriano is stronger, fitter and a much better mover   (Photos: Sue Saunders Photography)

Adriano’s ability to refine his movement has improved immeasurably. We still joke about how out of sorts he was with practically every lift and technique when we first started working together.

The first Amazing 12 experience was different in other ways, too. “It was more a challenge with myself in 2015,” explained Adriano.

“I had never trained with that type of intensity. It was more about learning to go through pain and to commit to something outside my comfort zone. I was counting the days last time.”

On this occasion, though, Adriano says he didn’t once think about the finish.

“It was more about the journey,” he said. “I just enjoyed being more in control of the movements and my body. I was more aware of what I was doing in terms of exercising and working out.”

COMPARISON: Adriano today compared with how he looked when he finished the Amazing 12 first time (Photos: Sue Saunders Photography)

Adriano had a much better comprehension of why we train and what we eat. He now understands it to the point that his focus is on continuing to develop. He has set himself new goals.  

The Amazing 12 is more than about just training for the sake of getting stronger, fitter, leaner and more muscular. It’s an education in strength and conditioning and understanding nutrition.

Maybe Adriano didn’t fully grasp that in 2015. But there was definitely a shift in attitude this time.

“This time the Amazing 12 is the beginning of the journey. Last time it was the end.”

You, too, can have results like Adriano’s. But it takes commitment and discipline. If you think you can stick to the training, follow a healthy nutritional program and are interested either in my eight-week version of the Amazing 12, starting on May 8, or a 12-week wave in September, send an email to Claude@intelligentstrength.co.uk

Jamie (April 2017)

Photos: Sue Saunders Photography

MANY women steer clear of lifting weights for fear of getting bulging muscles or becoming bulky, all of which, for many reasons, is incredibly difficult to achieve.

I like to think after her second journey through the Amazing 12, my wife, Jamie Abrams, personifies both strength and femininity.

She went into the program in pretty decent shape, which makes it more challenging to create change. She follows a good eating protocol as a vegan of more than 15 years. She doesn’t drink, smoke or consume junk food. In the 12 years I have known her, Jamie hasn’t ever even taken medication. As a yoga teacher of 17 years, she lives the life on and off the mat.

For Jamie, who has had two natural childbirths and is aged 37, this experience wasn’t about getting a shredded six-pack. This was also about adding strength and stability to her already flexible body. Jamie is living proof of how to effectively combine yoga with weight-lifting. As you will read, she more than achieved that.

Photo: Sue Saunders Photography

I can’t offer any details regarding body fat or weight loss. We don’t have a set of scales in the house and never have done. Jamie has always gone by how she feels.

“Physically, I was in good shape. I felt fine about my body,” she said. “I knew I had lost some strength since the last Amazing 12. I wasn’t super-unhappy, physically. I just felt mentally and emotionally challenged in my working stratosphere. I wanted to use the physical training to rebuild myself mentally.”

Jamie had recently gone through some big life changes and wanted to work on herself from the outside in.

Photos: Sue Saunders Photography

“In the yoga world, if you go too far in one direction, like have too much flexibility and no strength, you can get injured. I now have a good balance between strength, mobility and flexibility.

“I’m stronger now than I have ever been. I’m not just hanging out in my ligaments and joints.

“My musculature can support deeper movements and positions because I’ve built strength in my end range of motion.

“In yoga there is a lot of pushing, but no pulling movements. The A12 helped add some balance to my system. I got really strong in the pull, because I can now do chin-ups.”

BALANCE: between strength and being feminine. Photo: Sue Saunders Photography

“I wanted to get a stronger body and create a stronger sense of self,” she explained.

“I’d done the Amazing 12 before and knew it gets results. That’s why I decided to do it again. It’s given me a strong body, for sure. By building a strong foundation, it has helped me to become mentally and emotionally stronger.

“In 2015, I was at a different point in my life, both family and work-wise. I can’t compare the two experiences.”

The two experiences were quite different, however, particularly from a coaching perspective. Working with your partner or spouse isn’t for everyone. There are many personal trainers who simply refuse to. I’ve been warned against it. There’s clearly a dynamic shift that takes place and it’s simply better for some relationships to not take on that test.

In the past I’ll admit I’ve found it challenging coaching my wife. But this time round it was a relative breeze. I can’t pin down why exactly. Maybe it’s because she knew the ropes and just got on with it. But it was certainly a different – and smoother – experience.

PAUSE: floating the kettlebell during the swing

That’s not to say Jamie didn’t put in the same kind of effort. She most certainly did. I’m very proud of her effort and devotion to following the program. She worked really hard, attending 95% of the gym sessions, only missing a few days because she had to help teach yoga in Lithuania.

“I learned from this experience that my husband can train me,” she said. “A lot of people can’t train with their spouses. He’s patient, focused and meets the person where they are. I felt safe because I knew the programming was intelligent and Claude wouldn’t give me anything I couldn’t do.

“I knew if you showed up consistently that you would get the gains. For the Amazing 12, having a coach is massively important. I don’t know how to do programming and make strength gains. I’d be shooting in the dark [on my own].”

As I said already, she went into this in pretty good shape. She’d had periods of inactivity following the first Amazing 12, but was training reasonably consistently at Core Results prior to the program.

The gym world is very different to her life on the mat. My wife’s like Roger Federer. She’s consistent and steady. Like the great Swiss tennis master, her expression doesn’t change a great deal, even when things get tough.

You watch Federer play tennis and he’s never gasping for breath. His hair isn’t out of place. There’s often a joke about Jamie when she trains that she keeps a yoga face. She’s also a big Federer admirer. 

MULTI-TASKING: stretching between sets

There’s a part of Jamie’s personality that doesn’t allow her to go pedal-to-the-metal. It can be a real asset at times. She doesn’t push when it becomes uncomfortable and, on the Amazing 12, that works almost perfectly.

Jamie doesn’t think of herself as especially fit, but I don’t agree: I see her as someone who paces herself well. She didn’t slacken off during any of the sessions. Her prowler test run went from 3 minutes 31 seconds in the first week to 2 minutes 45 by week 11. And, given that the prowler is a piece of equipment she’d been used to working with fairly consistently, making progress was always going to be slightly harder than for someone trying it the first time.

Photo: Sue Saunders Photography

When I first started working out with her (about 10 years ago), she’d get grumpy if I directed her near to the zone of uncomfortability. I saw that face a good few times over the 12 weeks.

Once or twice she’s threatened me with divorce papers and tried dropping kettlebells on my toes (she claims otherwise).

STEADY: keeping the pace with slam balls

But it was worth it. She looked genuinely pleased with herself when, at week 12, she banged out 33 chin-ups in 15 minutes having not been able to do one at the start. Then, three days later, she got 41!

Strength-wise, she became much stronger than two years ago on her first Amazing 12.

Here are some examples: her working weight for the bench press in 2015 was 33.5kg compared with 45kg this time; on shoulder press she went from 28.5kg in 2015 to 35kg; her deadlift improved from 68.5kg for reps to 77.5kg and back squat from 45kg to 56kg, again for multiple reps.

LEGS DAY: Back squatting in her funky leggings

Even better is that with all those movements, her form was significantly better. Improved technique, greater results. That’s what this type of program, when combined with a nutritious diet, is all about.

POST-WORKOUT: downing her shake

Jamie had to eat differently to the others on the program. While the nutrition side of things felt challenging in 2015, Jamie found it pretty plain sailing this time.

“I was switched on, food-wise,” she said. “I felt like I ate cleaner than before. It reinforced the fact that I am a healthy person. I barely had sore muscles. I wasn’t sick at all even though we trained through the winter season. It shows I’m in good health. The program highlights consistency, which is common sense.”

I’ve seen a level of commitment from Jamie that I haven’t seen before. Since completing the program, she’s been training three times each week under my guidance and set up a small, local sprinting group.

To those contemplating doing the Amazing 12, Jamie said: “What are you waiting for? If you want changes then you have to change what you are doing. If you want lasting changes this might be the program for you.

MOTIVATED: Jamie has risen to a new level

“The Amazing 12 is about changing habits around how you train, eat, how often you train and learning about how to have the energy to get through the day and not feel tired.

“People see the pictures and think it’s purely about aesthetics, but for me it’s primarily a strength and conditioning program.”

Want to achieve results  in strength, fitness and body composition? Feel you can follow a training and dietary program for eight or 12 weeks? Want to learn how to lift properly and safely while under supervision? Want to achieve physical changes you’ve not seen or experienced before? Then send me an email – Claude@intelligentstrength.co.uk – for information on the next Amazing 12 Chichester wave. An eight-week course starts on May 8. The next 12-week wave begins in September. 

Stacey (April 2017)

Photos by Sue Saunders photography

IT’S a minor miracle Stacey Satta finished the Amazing 12 Chichester program or managed to attend 92% of the gym sessions or did the extra training I prescribed her or got the incredible results that she did. 

For years, Stacey, 37, has got by on minimal amounts of sleep. I’m talking literally a few hours here and there.

Somehow she looks fantastic for it.

Also, eight months ago she became a mum and her sleeping got worse. Prior to giving birth (by C-section) she hadn’t done any training for months. By her own admission, she basically sat around eating what she liked and put on weight, took it easy and that became her life pattern.

So when she decided to do the Amazing 12, I had to be sure she was ready – that her body was ready, that her mind was ready.

The sleep was always going to be an issue. Stacey worries a lot. And as sleep is a vital component in helping the body recover and grow and allowing the brain to replenish, I couldn’t be certain how Stacey would fare day after day for three months.

Sleep also is a massive cog in the wheel that drives fat loss. That Stacey was able to go from 10st 2lbs (before the program started) down to 8st 10lbs at the end is a grand success. She hadn’t been under 9st since her teenage days!

Even better was how she went from 26% body fat at week four to 21% at the finish. I’d confidently say that with a better sleeping protocol her results would have been even more spectacular.

A few snippets of Stacey’s training journey

She did the Amazing 12 with her husband Adriano. They would work out separately at Core Results Gym. Only once – in the final week – did they co-train.

So while one looked after baby Leo, the other would go to the gym. Then they’d hand him over. That’s pretty much how it worked.

Instead of saying, “we can’t do it with a young baby,” Stacey and Adriano found a way. They really wanted to do this. 

I’ve trained the pair of them on and off for several years. Stacey used to get a lot of migraines (still does) and that would make her miss training. This was another concern. But her attendance and commitment was first class. More often than not when she came in looking spaced out from a lack of sleep and said ‘I’m not feeling great today’, I’d just tell her to do her best, but inside I was always thinking ‘Stacey seems to perform better whenever she says that’.

Stacey must also be one of the few people I’ve ever coached who can maintain a great grin even when she’s up against it. I’ll take that any day.

She didn’t just transform the way she looked physically, but just as importantly – if not more so – Stacey grew stronger and fitter.

Less than a year on since her wedding day

She sent me a photo of herself pregnant on her wedding day last year so I could compare it with how she now looks. It’s extraordinary.

When I think back to the first week of training it seems almost laughable. She was struggling to move 15kg for reps on her bench press, but eventually reached 40kg for multiples, which was more than her previous 3-rep maximum.

Similarly, when I had her shoulder press with 8.5kg, she found it hard and I recall the moment when, flabbergasted, she said “I’m really shocked at how weak I have become”.

But the Amazing 12 did wonders for her shoulder strength and at the end she was pressing 30kg for multiple repetitions, again better than her previous 3-rep best.

Stacey’s always had an excellent squat and though it was also challenging to begin with, her body grew stronger. In the final week I had her warming up with a back squat weight equal to her previous best for three reps. She put the bar back in the rack and said, “I felt I could have done more.”

Stacey worked hard for those muscles (photo: Sue Saunders Photography)

In terms of conditioning, Stacey’s first effort with the prowler, which is one implement I used to measure conditioning improvement, was an agonising 4 minutes 8 seconds. Stacey was able to bring that down to 2 minutes 30 seconds and, in the future, wants to go below two minutes which I have no doubt she can.

And then there were the chin-ups, which she’d never been able to do, not even in her CrossFit days two years ago. But in the final week I asked her to go for it. She gave me an unsure glance and then pulled herself over – not once, but, over 15 minutes, nearly 40 times!

“I was totally amazed,” said Stacey. “I could hardly believe my own strength!”

When I think back to before Christmas, when I sat down to talk to Stacey about doing the program, her priority then was to regain her fitness. “I’m not as bothered about my appearance,” she said. “It’s a bonus if I look good at the end.”

Photo: Sue Saunders Photography

Also, Stacey had never previously stuck to a clean-eating diet. She loves chocolate cakes, biscuits and sugary stuff. That was her biggest concern going into the A12. But the results speak for themselves.

“You’ve been amazing, Claude,” she said in appreciation, which is nice. “We couldn’t have got to where we have without your support and guidance.”

But, as I’ve said before, though, I can guide, but the participant still has to do the work. Stacey followed instructions, came to train and stuck to the eating plan. She’s now going to join my ladies lifting classes on a Sunday morning and continue training with me so we can continue to build on her progress.

If you want results like Stacey’s and to be a part of my next or a future Amazing 12 Chichester, send me an email to Claude@intelligentstrength.co.uk. My next wave, over eight weeks, begins on May 8. I’m going to do another, over 12 weeks, in September. 


Regain your health, strength and vitality in eight weeks!

ARE you no longer feeling comfortable in your own body? Have years of poor choices taken a toll on your health? Do you need to do something about it and get into shape, but you don’t know how?

Or maybe you struggle with motivating yourself and need a challenge – something that will give you focus, help you knuckle down and bring about the results you deserve?

Perhaps it’s too easy to cut corners when you are calling the shots. It’s too simple to not get up to run or go to the gym. You want to be held accountable.

Or do you desperately feel the need to shift excess body fat, change a poor diet, but don’t know what you should be doing or eating? Do you need some guidance?

You’ve heard that lifting weights is one of the best ways to drop body fat and get stronger. You’d be absolutely right. It gives you muscles and having muscles is like having fat-burners. Muscles and lifting weights are also essential for good health. But you don’t know how to lift well or safely? You want to be taught properly and have someone watch your technique and guide you carefully?

Even if you know how to lift weights, just picking up barbells and dumbbells isn’t necessarily going to do the trick.

For example, if you know how to drive, have a car and want to get from England to Germany, a map would be handy. Without it, reaching your destination could take forever. You may even never get there. Training without a program – and especially one that works – is pretty much the like being in a car without a map or compass.

The Amazing 12 is a map for getting into shape and regaining your health and vitality. That’s why I’m offering an eight-week version of this program, starting in May. 

To participate, you need to be willing to train with me five days a week on consecutive days for eight weeks. That’s all.

I say ‘That’s all’, because two months isn’t a long time for what you’ll get in return. It’s nothing to get back ownership and control of your body. It’s nothing in exchange for being able to move better and be healthier. I’m offering a way for you to whip yourself into shape for summer and make your results the beginning for the health and body you deserve.

What I need from you is two things: commitment and consistency. Be committed enough to turn up every day – regardless of how you feel – and train as I ask, to eat the foods I advise you to consume in the quantities I recommend.

There are no tricks involved. It’s just an intelligent way of training combined with a smart, sensible and healthy way of eating. But, when combined with effort and commitment, it works and works brilliantly.

You’ll not just feel like the person you were always supposed to be – but got derailed by lifestyle choices – but you’ll most likely be stronger, fitter, feel more confident and have the knowledge and skills to better take care of yourself.

You’ll become an asset to yourself, your family, your work, your friends…

You will be fending off illness, ageing, lethargy, inefficiency.

But how much do you want it? That’s the real question. How much do you want that change?

Think about what the future holds on your present path and what the future would hold from two months solid commitment and the platform that would provide.  

Believe you can do it? Contact me. I’m looking to hear from committed individuals. My pledge is that I’m prepared to give all I have in experience, knowledge and teaching to help those who want to help themselves.

To register or find out more, send an email to Claude@Intelligentstrength.co.uk

Week 12: Box clever – be the architect, not the spectator

Nearly done…but what’s next for Stacey and Jamie?

BOXING used to be my sport. I spent years – decades, in fact – around boxers and observing them. I saw the very best and the worst.

Most boxers train sometimes up to 12 weeks or more to be in the best possible condition. Then, when their contest is over, some don’t go near a gym until their next fight is scheduled, while the smart ones – and the ones who tend to have the longest shelf life – tick over, keep their weight down and are always in a place from which it doesn’t require drastic work to be ready for action.

Life’s the same. Many of us visit the gym or exercise in bursts. We apply ourselves only for special occasions. Our weight and body fat fluctuates and, consequently, our health stumbles along.

Resting between sets, Stacey and Adriano

But who wouldn’t want to function at their best and feel and look good all the time? The benefits are boundless. But it takes effort, consistency and application.

That’s what is required to complete the Amazing 12 in its entirety. The final week of the Amazing 12 is a bit like the countdown to a big fight, culminating in a workout and a photoshoot just like a boxer has to be ready for the weigh-in and then the contest.

There are more parallels between the life of a boxer and an Amazing 12 graduate. After the Amazing 12 do you switch off until it’s necessary to go into a gym or exercise again? Or do you continue training – to be ready for life and all that it throws at you – and maintain or improve the physique you have created?

I know which I would choose. I know which I did pick after I completed my first Amazing 12 more than two years ago. And, to be honest, it doesn’t require much work to remain in shape – but you need to be disciplined (make the right choices) and consistent (turn up to put in the work).

Picking up the pace, Ben and Stacey in the final week

Food and diet plays an essential part, of course. Ponder this, because it is true: every molecule of food we consume has an impact on our genetic expression – meaning it affects the way our genes perform.

I’ve made choices that support a healthy body. That’s always been my priority.

Why? Because health matters – not only to me, but to my wife, my children, my clients, my world, my aspirations, my desires, my bank balance, my friends, my enjoyment of life…

Why would I not choose health over pain, discomfort, sluggishness, premature ageing, limitation, low self-esteem, unhappiness?

No walk in the park: getting into shape and being healthy requires more than just exercise

I’m thankful I made that choice many years ago. I don’t feel as if I’ve missed out on anything. Quite the contrary. Being healthy and able has allowed me to take advantage of the opportunities that have come my way.

I remember as a child loving sweets and chocolates and spooning sugar straight out of the sugar bowl and drinking Coca Cola and eating hamburgers and Pizza from fast food restaurants and loads of biscuits and fish and chips. But somewhere along the road I made a choice – an informed choice.

I’m trying to push home the point that there’s nothing that sets me apart except the choices I have made. Those choices have a massive impact on the outcome of our lives.

We can either be the architect in our lives or a spectator. You choose.

COMMITMENT: Jamie and Stacey showing up for more curls

The five people I’ve put through the Amazing 12 Chichester the past 12 weeks now have an important decision to make: build upon what they have created and developed or revert to a perhaps more convenient, less disciplined lifestyle.

But I know that what comes with the former choice is more growth, a greater assurance of well-being, the freedom that is having better odds at being able to function every day with energy, strength and confidence.

The world of convenience has its place, but largely it is responsible for enticing many, many people in the opposite direction to where they would rather be.

With the A12 over, there is going to be a shift in accountability. It’s going to be easy to slip into the old patterns of eating and living that are so problematic in our world today.

PROGRESS: Just 12 weeks ago Ben had no idea how to squat properly

I’m hoping they have learned and experienced enough about themselves, the importance of choices and planning ahead to be able to shape a lifestyle that involves an effective and healthy balance of movement, training and eating.

Ben says he’s determined to continue training, that he’s going to sign up at a gym and workout with a friend three days a week. He’s more aware about food intake to know what’s healthier and what is not. The challenge is to make the right choices and do it consistently.

From just one week eating exactly as I told him, he has noticed a difference. Over the 12 weeks, he’s realised which foods don’t sit well with him and which ones do. He’s learned to drink more water daily and that he doesn’t need sugar in his tea and coffee.

STRONGER: Adriano’s done better than he did two years ago

For Adriano, Stacey and Jo, we’ve all discussed a training plan moving forwards. They all have more in the locker and are keen to progress.

And for Jamie – my wife and second time around the Amazing 12 – she succeeded in her goal to get stronger, fitter and leaner.

She comes from the US, where a life of fast food, type-2 diabetes and meds is now becoming the norm. Jamie is living proof that it doesn’t have to be.

AT LAST: the elusive chin-up is finally conquered…many times over

A vegan, mum of two and yoga teacher, she’s the only one doing the program on a plant-based diet.

Yet her strength has increased quite dramatically. This week Jamie, as well as Ben and Stacey, hit a goal of getting her first chin-up. None of them could do one before we started. All of them were able to do multiple chin-ups and with reasonable ease, too.

NEXT UP: Stacey nails her chin-ups, too

That’s just one example of the strength improvements accomplished in the past 12 weeks. I’ll go into more detail in future blogs.

But it underlines that this program is not just about ‘the look’. Even Jo, who found it hard to change her diet, achieved tremendous strength and fitness results.

I will then be planning ahead how to help some of them continue to improve through personal training sessions. And I shall be focusing on my next wave, which will be over EIGHT WEEKS and starting in May. It is hard work and requires devotion and commitment, but the rewards are exceptional for those who stick to it. The most challenging paths are always the ones which teach and improve us the most.

Do you want results? Are you prepared to challenge yourself to get them? Are you ready to make a commitment? Contact me at Claude@intelligentstrength.co.uk for more information and details or any questions you may have.