IF you look at Stacey Satta and haven’t read one of my blogs during the 12 weeks of her training on the Amazing 12 Chichester, you could be forgiven for thinking everything went precisely to plan. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Stacey, now one of only four people to have completed the Amazing 12 Chichester twice, is quite a remarkable woman and you’ll find out why.
Her reason for doing it a second time was simple: to build upon the massive achievements she made during her first 12 weeks.
“I knew I’d get results,” she explained of her decision.
You can see from her impressive photos that she was successful. But the striking images do not tell the background story.
As was the case with her first Amazing 12 that ended in April, Stacey completed the program on little sleep, which for most people simply would not have been manageable.
But that wasn’t the full extent of what she had to contend with. In fact, I’d say this most recent Amazing 12 was tougher than the first (which wasn’t easy) even though when she started in September, Stacey was in better shape and condition.
“It was a little different [second time] because I knew what to expect,” said Stacey. “I found that it [the 12 weeks] went much quicker, but it was more challenging. I was struggling with sleep and the weights were getting heavier.”
Stacey also had an injury to contend with. As early as week two, she started having issues with the rotator cuff on her right shoulder and by week five I not only had to remove bench-pressing all together, but had to practically redesign her shoulder program.
Yet, despite not having done bench press from before the halfway mark of the program, by the end her shoulder issues had practically cleared up (I partly put it down to rest and lots of Turkish Get-ups) and when I retested her bench press a week after she had finished the A12, Stacey managed to lift more (50kg for one rep) than ever before!
That’s not an isolated strength improvement. Her back squat went from a 77.5kg struggle (in April) to a technically spot-on 95kg – at 54kg bodyweight!
Her deadlift went from 87.5kg to 92.5kg, although during the program her working weight peaked at 80kg for reps and sets compared with 72.5kg in the spring.
I still think Stacey could have topped that deadlift weight, but it’s an exercise where, if her mind isn’t right, she falls to bits.
I tried getting Stacey to lift without telling her how much was on the bar (so she wouldn’t psyche herself out), but she couldn’t resist taking a peak. And that was that.
But she admitted: “I learned that I can do most things if I can get into the right mindset.”
In fact, she made improvements across the board. For example, doing the Military Press she finished in April getting 27 reps with 30kg whereas second time round she hit 40 reps with 32kg in the same time period.
Doing chin-ups, in April she managed 38 bodyweight in a set time, whereas most recently Stacey nailed 49 in the same time frame with an additional 1kg attached and looked as fresh as a daisy when she was finished!
“The most satisfying part was seeing my body getting leaner while also feeling stronger and lifting weights I didn’t think it would be possible for me to lift – EVER!” she said.
In terms of body composition, her weight loss went like this: first Amazing 12 – 10st 2lbs to 8st 10lbs; second Amazing 12 – 9st 2 1/4lbs to 8st 6 1/2lbs, which is the lightest she has been since her teenage days. But this mother is now 38 and I bet she has more muscle and can lift plenty more than she could back then.
Stacey’s main obsession was with lowering her body fat and after dropping from 26% to 21% in April, she came into the second Amazing 12 at 23.6% and by the end was exactly 20%
In essence, she dropped weight, lost fat and gained in strength, muscle and fitness all in spite of her continual struggle to sleep and more.
Miraculously, she missed only six of the 60 training sessions (one more than on the first Amazing 12). In eight sessions she did attend I had to amend the workouts or cut them short because Stacey was simply too exhausted to take on the added stress of any hard training.
Had she been well rested after every session, attended all the workouts and been able to test herself fully (she always gave 100 per cent), I shudder to imagine what she would have accomplished.
“My lack of sleep was the most challenging part,” she admitted. “It affected my rest and recovery. I missed a few sessions because of it and couldn’t always perform as well as I would have liked.”
There wasn’t a single week when she didn’t come in for at least one training session feeling either run down or shattered. Usually, Stacey still looks remarkable on a few hours sleep, but I started to get concerned when she turned up on a few occasions barely able to keep her eyes open.
“The hardest part was around weeks eight and nine when the diet and training, for some reason, became really challenging,” she recalled. “I had to really dig deep and stay focused.”
That Stacey was so determined to keep going proves she was never short of commitment. She never found that to be a problem except on the days when she felt so depleted. I can count on one hand maybe the amount of training sessions at Core Results gym we had when she was full of beans and operating on all cylinders.
If anything, I’d say the final four weeks were probably the worst (in terms of exhaustion) and those are the critical stages when, generally, the most ground is made.
Somehow, though, she came through it and was delighted with the outcome.
“It was remarkable given everything I went through and I feel I achieved more than I thought I would,” she said. “I’m very happy with the results.”
Obviously, it was far from an easy ride for Stacey. She had a lot to contend with.
“Dedication and commitment are the keys to success on the program,” she said. “If you’re up for a challenge, want to look great and feel great, just go for it,” she said. “You won’t regret it.”
Just make sure you’ve got your sleeping sorted first!
If you want to become an Amazing 12 Chichester graduate like Stacey or find out more about the program, contact Claude@intelligentstrength.co.uk. We are taking applications for the next round in 2018.