I’VE seen it happen again and again on this program. Changes. Physical and mental.
Take Reg – all 25st of him. When he first walked through the door, he moved uneasily. He was carrying a heavy load – a load he had got tired of lugging around and needed to ditch. His movement was laboured.
So where do I often start? I get my clients crawling. Some like it and some do not. But I have them do it, because it’s basic and effective. It resets the body. It boosts the brain. It’s good for co-ordination, core stability etc. That’s why children first learn to crawl before walking and running. It develops their motor skills, strength and balance.
Seriously, Reg could hardly crawl more than five paces forwards. In reverse, he couldn’t move – at all!
But now, at the end of seven weeks on an eight-week version of the Amazing 12 Chichester at Core Results Gym, he can cover 30ft in one go without stopping. It’s a clear, measurable display of progress.
I use the prowler a lot as well. For those unfamiliar with this bit of kit, it’s a type of metal, weighted sled. You push it. It taxes you. You feel it and sometimes hard. But it can work wonders – IF you get the dose right.
So I had Reg cover 10 lengths of the gym with the prowler in the first week, his instructions being to give it his best and not stop. But he did stop…several times. It took him 4 mins 32 seconds. His legs hurt. He was breathing hard, a reminder of how lacking in condition he was. “My God,” he said repeatedly.
Roll on seven weeks and at about 7am with the sun shining. “Let’s do it again, Reg,” I said to him. “I’m curious to see how long it takes.”
Reg had been moving so much better that I felt he and I both needed to know the difference.
Here’s the outcome: Reg marched that thing up and down. He could probably have gone quicker were he able to run. But he paced it evenly and didn’t stop. His time: 2 mins 51 secs!
The same day, but in the evening, I did the same to Jemma. She was dreading it. It was steamy and, of course, Jemma hates sweating. We’d done a full workout. She said she was feeling tired, that her legs ached as she’d done some sprints that morning. I’ve heard it all before.
I tried to encourage her to believe in herself. Then I walked over to the prowler and uttered those words: “Let’s do it.”
Filled with nervousness, Jemma’s head spiralled into the usual chaos and doubt. Once she realised it was happening, she had to focus. “Just do your best,” I said. “I’m just curious to see how you do.” Then I added, “You know it’s going to be better. You’re fitter, stronger, lighter and faster. Just pace yourself.” She did.
First time she did it, Jemma bombed. She stopped frequently, utterly spent, hands hurting, legs burning, mind racing. You name it, she had it. Her untrained body got it done in 4 mins 16 secs.
So how did she do in the re-run – and bear in mind this was only five weeks later? Her time was 2 mins 30 secs!
Jemma almost burst into tears. She was that delighted and shocked and emotional and surprised and thrilled.
What’s even better is that she could – and will – go faster before we finish the program in another seven weeks.
In five weeks Jemma has lost a stone in weight, but much more has gone on.
“My muscle tone has improved,” she said. “I feel better in my clothes. I don’t feel hungry hardly at all. I feel less stressed and have had only one anxiety attack since I started [compared to what used to be at least weekly].
“I’m more aware of the choices I am now making and how organised I have been. I feel more cheerful and don’t feel the need to drink alcohol. My mental block on my pain barrier has improved and I’m more able to deal with pushing through for more reps.”
Like Reg, Catriona is entering the final week. I took her through a tough circuit session this week and thought, at 50 and all bronzed, that she looked like some sports bikini athlete. Catriona didn’t stop.
I asked her later that day what changes she had noticed and, still too tired to elaborate, she texted me, “I have abs.” This was followed by, “not a very deep answer, but I’ve been striving to find them for years!!”
Catriona was fit and lean before she started the program. Now she’s fitter, leaner, stronger and has muscles she didn’t know existed.
I gave her the prowler challenge, too. At the finish, as she was lying on the floor, I asked, “how do you think you did?”
“Slower,” came her reply.
In fact, she’d reduced her best time from 3 mins 30 on day 2 to 2 mins 50 seconds – an improvement of 40 seconds!
Naturally, she was delighted.
Jade, on the other hand, is tougher to please. She’s one of the fittest people I’ve had start the program. Having trained and played sport for years, getting her results was always going to be more challenging.
She wants to be lean above all else. She’d sacrifice strength gains for being leaner. I notice changes already. It’s obvious to me she is becoming leaner and stronger and fitter. But Jade’s a little fixated with the scales – the scales of doom that send out a false representation of what’s really happening to our bodies and yet we still rely on them as a marker for progress.
“I’ve not seen too much physically yet,” she said. “I haven’t noticed it apart from a few inches off my waist.”
She said she felt tired and heavy in the legs all the time. On the plus side, she was happy with making more time for herself and enjoying being able to train every day.
“I’ve enjoyed being a bit more selfish in regards to doing things for me, making sure I have time to train and putting myself first more often than I usually do.”
I’m still super-confident Jade will take a different view of her results come the end and that she’ll be doing pull-ups and plenty of them (which is what she also wants). She’s missing her comfort foods, but sticking to the nutrition. If she keeps it up, she’ll get impressive results. She’s just impatient and shining her attention on what she feels is missing without noticing the wonders of what is going on with her body. Sound familiar?
Her strength is already at a level where few women I’ve coached on the program have reached in 12 weeks. And while she maintains she’s not got much endurance or bothered too greatly about becoming strong, Jade’s working harder now during the longer workouts and keeping up a good pace.
When I had Jade re-take the prowler test, she knew she had to approach it differently and she did. Her time went from 2 mins 28 in week 1 (when she shot off too quickly) to 2 mins 3 seconds at the end of week 5.
And remember, the better the athlete the smaller the changes are likely to be. For Usain Bolt, a difference of 0.01 seconds to his sprint time is as significant as, say, two seconds over the same distance for a sprinter in school.
You can’t argue with the the times and other feats of strength I have logged and will write about later. The ‘after’ photos always reveal the extent of composition changes.
But in terms of satisfaction, regardless of what I say or the evidence I provide or how the photos look, the individual has the choice where to cast their attention.
The formula for happiness and contentment is fairly straightforward: be grateful for and appreciate what you have rather than yearn for what you do not. By the same token, appreciate what you have achieved more than what you failed to achieve. The decision is yours.
The next wave of the Amazing 12 Chichester will begin at Core Results on September 18, 2017. I’m taking applications. If you want to see results and are committed, drop me a line at Claude@intelligentstrength.co.uk for more information.