THE Amazing 12 is a program designed to create transformation. At first glance it seems all about the photos and change in physical shape. But, delve deeper, and it’s about a lot more, as was the case with Reg, who recently completed an eight-week version of the program.
It boosts conditioning, optimises strength and can get people, otherwise stuck, functioning properly again. As Jemma, now at the end of week 10, will probably tell you, it can enhance the spirit, strengthen the mindset and increase confidence.
I’ve found, though, that it will work as well as you allow it to. Some people on the program are more resistant than others.
To resist is to create suffering. Take running a marathon, for example. If with every stride you are wishing the race is over, you will suffer. However, if you surrender to the process and stay in the moment, the whole experience – and your results – are likely to be considerably different and more enjoyable.
Jemma had a lot of resistance to begin with – and it was hard – but I’ve watched her surrender – and flourish – as the weeks have gone by.
Fact is, if you drive with the brakes on, you can’t reach top speed.
There are now just two weeks remaining on my current wave. Two weeks to make the best of the transformation.
Jade this week decided to discontinue. She felt she was becoming too muscular and it was a look she wasn’t happy with.
It’s a shame as she was making outstanding progress with her strength in particular. But I have to respect her feelings and decision.
Jemma, however, is thriving. She’s definitely moving towards top speed. She signed up for the program because she wanted to become leaner as well as achieve other goals. Getting leaner is primarily about fat loss.
In some cases, though, when it comes to fat loss, it can be difficult to shift.
You need to get the nutrition/diet right and nail the exercise/training/movement element.
We’ve heard the expression “You can’t out-train a bad diet” and it’s largely true. There will always be the odd exceptions – the individuals who can eat garbage and still look incredible. But that’s more to do with age and genetics than it is lifestyle. It won’t last forever.
As you get older and life becomes busier and inactivity begins to triumph over activity, shifts start to happen in the body.
Beyond the nutrition and training there is also recovery and sleep, which are vital and I have talked about previously.
For the best possible results you need to have all four working for you.
However, in some cases – and I have seen this quite a few times – when the eating and training is perfect or nearly spot-on, the fat still refuses to budge.
So what is this additional fifth factor?
It’s called STRESS.
You might think the opposite – that stress burns energy. But, on a metabolic level, it doesn’t have that effect.
As Dr. Jade Teta, who has worked with thousands of clients and specialises in metabolism and hormones as well as health and fitness, explains: “If you’re eating right, training well and still not shifting fat, there’s a high possibility stress – and too much of it – is the obstacle or cause.”
Stress is generally regarded as a ‘bad’ word, but it’s not always the enemy. Stress raises cortisol and our bodies need cortisol. But too much of it becomes problematic.
In the world of lifting weights and training, for example, stress is a crucial factor in bringing about change.
The key, however – just as with food, drink, exposure to sunlight and practically anything – is in THE DOSE!
It’s when stress or food consumption or being inactive or watching TV or being glued to your phone or worrying or being negative or feeling angry and irritated becomes excessive that problems begin.
The trouble with stress is when it reaches the chronic stage. And, because we are all so different, how much we can tolerate will vary.
No matter who we are, though, the human body can withstand only so much and, often without warning, decides to down tools.
It’s as if the body is saying ‘you didn’t do anything about it, so now I will’. We don’t want to wait until we get to that point.
Every time you go to the gym and train, your body is being subjected to stress. This stress, when combined with adequate recovery to follow, is what brings about an adaptation and makes us stronger and/or fitter.
There’s a fine line, though, between pushing our bodies hard or challenging ourselves in order to create an adaptation response and doing it so often and beyond what we can cope with that something eventually snaps or breaks.
Getting the measure of how hard to train or how heavy to lift is a critical part of effecting change. The poison, as they say, is in the dose, which is why more is not always better.
We need to manage the stress rather than allow the stress to manage us. In the gym environment, that’s where having a coach can be particularly useful.
Stress, though, comes under many guises. It is around us all the time, as I have explained earlier. Many of us are under stress and don’t even realise it because our world is filled with stimulation.
Any time you resist life you are effectively fighting and in stress mode. Complaining, as I’ve written about in previous blogs, is an example of resisting.
So let’s go into more detail as to how this can derail fat loss. Dr. Teta calls our metabolism a “stress barometer” in so far as it is always trying to get us back into balance. When our bodies are out of balance is when the metabolism is kicked into action.
Our bodies are wired to deal with any stress as a starvation response. If your body thinks it is starving when under stress, it will try to bring you back into balance. It does this by making you hungrier, craving foods and diminishing your motivation to exercise.
Why? Because eating more and moving less enables you to store fat around the liver, giving the body easy access to fuel for when the next stress attack arrives.
As Dr. Teta explains, “if you want to know if your metabolism is under stress look for these signs: increased hunger; unpredictable energy; mood issues; cravings; sleep disruptions.”
I’d bet that the vast majority of us can identify with these characteristics. Our lives are filled with pressure in the work place and family life and general survival (paying bills etc). And if, when feeling hungry and faced with cravings, we then add to the mix poor food choices, we are doubling the stress attack.
When stress levels are high, we need to redress the balance.
So how do we do this?
Try to increase or introduce the following into your lifestyle: Exercise in the right amounts; play sports and games; walk daily – this is not just critical for activating the lymphatic system (which is a whole other subject), but great for relaxation; take time out to read books; have a massage; go to a sauna; spend time with animals; take hot baths; listen to music; meditate; have sex; laugh; spend time in nature and outdoors.
The Amazing 12 Chichester is a holistic training program that maximises in a specific time period changes to physical composition, strength and fitness by applying intelligent progressions and teaching good movement techniques. It focuses also on healthy and sustainable eating practices. But I try to take it further and address the other components in life that are required to enable us to function to the best of our ability. If you are interested in uncovering your full potential, can be committed to the program and want to be a part of the next wave, starting on September 18, or a future wave, email me at Claude@intelligentstrength.co.uk