Sometimes we just need to jump

FOR all of us there will be situations and actions that make us anxious and uncomfortable. Some things we’re better at than others

However, I understand also that I, like you, CAN do anything, that my potential is great. I believe that to be true for everyone.

Often, though, something is holding us back from moving towards that great thing we are capable of or the goal we want to achieve or the change we want to create. That something is usually fear or doubt or uncertainty.

TWO-TIMER: Adriano Satta after his second round of the Amazing 12

It’s like a wall that stands between where we are and where we want to be and, unfortunately, we can’t go around it.

When it comes to getting in shape and fit, many of us have the best intentions, especially at this time of year. Some of us don’t even make it to the starting blocks, while many will begin and then quickly fall back into old patterns of behaviour (habits).

SHORT VERSION: But Catriona, at 50 and new to weight-training, still made tremendous progress

It’s easier to stay in the relative comfort of what we know, even if it doesn’t serve us well.

But sometimes you have to look yourself in the eye, have that hard conversation and ask, ‘what’s going to happen if I do nothing or continue as I’ve been doing?’

With the Amazing 12 Chichester program, I help people get into better shape – shape their bodies, minds and the way their bodies can function by increasing strength, stability, flexibility, fitness and movement and, consequently, there’s a lot more that comes with it.

FIRST TIME: Jon, a father and business owner, has since gone on to the A12 Chichester another time

I’m advertising my next round of the Amazing 12 Chichester program for February 2018. For those who don’t know, it’s an outstanding training program.

There aren’t, to my knowledge, too many programs out there that can do so much in one hit and I’ve been training for more than 35 years.

You’ll learn about training, how to lift, how to eat optimally, the potential of your body and the workings of your mind. You’ll discover a lot more about yourself than you bargained for. And I think that’s a good thing.

TURNAROUND: Jemma lost 32lbs, gained confidence and strength and a new body

I love seeing the transformations happen. Sometimes it’s purely physical and at other times it’s everything. But it gives me massive satisfaction. I relish working with people and helping them to improve, develop and, ultimately, flourish.

Training – or working out – is my game. It’s what I love. I don’t require motivating. I’m driven every day to do it. Nutrition isn’t an obstacle for me either. I’ve been committed to lead by example most of my life. I find those habits simple to master. 

I don’t say it to brag that, at 50, I’m in better shape than I was at 20.  I’m stronger and fitter, too. I’m just consistent and have continued to make better lifestyle choices and habits. 

But there are other areas of life that I’m hopeless at and challenge me more and where I’m not as motivated or committed or enthusiastic or confident. Sometimes I fail miserably.

We all favour doing what we excel at, but it’s the other stuff that we really need to focus our attention on.

DISAPPOINTED: This was Rich, a 49-year-old, who wanted to get leaner, but felt as if he didn’t

As a seeker – a seeker of self-development and constantly evolving – I seldom rest in my desire to go to the next level, but I play the avoidance game, too, and it’s usually when I face my old adversaries, fear and uncertainty.

And though I know on the other side of fear is all that is preventing us from staying small, I can be like anyone else and cower in the face of taking that step forwards.

I know the challenging stuff gets uncomfortable. I know it’s going to test me and that it could prove to be inconvenient. I know I may not even like the process. But I also recognise that once I get to the other side, I’m going to be much better for it – that the riches are in the experience and the relationships and the overcoming of doubts. And that is the nugget that helps me bite the bullet.

I recognise and respect also that sometimes I need help getting to the other side. I require the accountability that I provide to my clients on the Amazing 12. That help can be in the form of a nudge or encouragement or a kick up the backside or having to report to or work alongside someone. Whatever works.

MARVEL: Since having a son 18 months ago, Stacey has done the Amazing 12 twice

So this is where I am now. I’ve just finished taking Stacey Satta and Rich Evans through the Amazing 12 and am encouraging others who want to get into the best possible shape to sign up with me for the next one. At the same time, coincidentally or not, I had someone else (I won’t reveal who) banging in my ear, waving at me to sign up with them for an undisputedly world class program, like the Amazing 12 (though not fitness-related), that could, potentially, help me to conquer many of the inhibitions that for years have held me back.

Guess what? I started having the same insecurities that infect many of those who desperately would like to try the Amazing 12, but back off and can’t pull the trigger. 

I kept putting it off, saying I’m not ready or that it would cost too much or questioning whether I could succeed. I basically started listing excuses.

The more I did so, the more I said to myself: “How can I expect people to commit to me on the Amazing 12 if I won’t take a chance on myself?”

I mulled this over for weeks, literally. I felt like a hypocrite. I reached a point where I believed that, to be fair, I couldn’t ask someone to take a step I wasn’t prepared to take myself.

GUILT: Sue, a mother of two, had to overcome the guilt of taking time out for herself

I asked myself also whether I wanted to be a 50 per cent version of myself. We only live once. I knew that I deserved better, my children deserved better, my clients deserved better…

“Do not die with the music still inside you!” is a quote that reverberated inside of me.

So what did I do?

Even without being properly able to afford it, I took the plunge. I thought, ‘this is an investment. This isn’t about money. This is about life. This is about freedom. This is about being yourself. This is about realising potential. This is about life experience, good or bad. This is about going to the next level, evolving. This is about living without regret, walking with your head held high. This is about eliminating what ifs. This is about speculating to accumulate’.

So I did it. I signed up. Done. I’m in. I’m going to do it. I made it happen. In an instant I made a decision. I took action. No turning back. 

I jumped! 

If you’re thinking about the Amazing 12, don’t think. Just do it. Get it done. Close your eyes, leap towards it, enjoy the ride, experience the change and, like all the graduates photographed on this page, realise what was always possible. 

Contact me NOW – claude@intelligentstrength.co.uk – schedule a free consultation and let’s get the wheels in motion and transform you into that spectacular physical being you were born to be.

I’ve decided 2018 is going to be a year of change and massive progress. I’m tired of waiting because, to be blunt, waiting brings nothing. Just seize the opportunity!

Are you IN or are you not?

 

Week 7: On the ropes

ANIMAL INSTINCT: crawling is a natural but forgotten movement

I GET asked frequently if everyone on the Amazing 12 does precisely the same thing. The answer is no. Not exactly.

As we’re all unique, a tailored approach is needed for each individual. That’s how effective training ought to be.

Not everyone going into a doctor’s surgery seeking health gets exactly the same prescription. But the healing process works in a particular way and, as with the Amazing 12, the principles for developing strength and fitness and losing or gaining weight are consistent.

There will always be occasions when, for one reason or another (usually because of injury or mobility restrictions or body composition or fitness levels or age), different exercises or movements or levels of intensity are necessary.

It’s happened on the Amazing 12 program many times previously when somebody simply can’t perform an exercise correctly and, rather than plug away and risk injury, I substitute the movement for another that can be executed with better technique.

FLOORED: pressing her way to a stronger body

Stacey, who along with Rich has now come to the end of week 7 on the Amazing 12 Chichester, has, for example, had a niggling pain in her rotator cuff. It’s not so painful that she screams in agony, but it’s restrictive and there’s enough discomfort to suggest we try an alternative.

We’ve experimented a lot the past four weeks with the goal being to continue making progress without worsening the injury.

What makes it undoubtedly tougher for Stacey is her lack of sleep as it’s during sleep that the body does its repair work.

Your training program is only as good as your ability to recover from it.

Having had rotator cuff injuries in the past – mainly from over-use and, when I was younger, not being shown how to lift weights properly (especially in the bench press) – I’m reluctant to take anyone down the path of let’s-push-it-and-see.

Pain in the body is like an internal alarm telling us something is wrong and that we should do it differently or not at all.

But we need to understand the difference between pain and discomfort.

GET-UP AND GO: one of the best movements going

I’ve modified some of Stacey’s program. And, given her sleep issues, I have to be careful not to push her over the edge when her energy levels are low.  

On some days she’s brilliant and on others she is completely spent. I can’t expect her to excel on the latter.

But not a week passes when I don’t think what her potential could be if she were to get a good night’s rest every day.

One day this week at Core Results, after about the fifth consecutive night without any sleep, she came in looking wrecked, barely able to keep her eyes open.

Having had insomnia for the best part of 10 years, Stacey has grown used to it yet still looks amazing. She can function in situations where many of us who sleep well simply would fall apart.

SLEEPLESS: Yet Stacey can still crush the deadlift

So for Stacey to look tired, I knew she was seriously deprived of rest. And yet, in spite of the fact that most of our fat-burning takes place during sleep, Stacey still dropped more weight and fat.

Rich and I just looked at each other and wondered how it had happened. Overnight, Stacey looked as if half her body had disappeared. Whether it’s her magical watercress and pea soup she’s concocted that’s doing it or not, she had reached a point where she was as light as she’s been since she was 16!

The main difference, though, is that she couldn’t back squat 70kg comfortably when she was a teenager and can now.

However, having already missed a day this week (through tiredness), Stacey didn’t want to skip another. I was reluctant for her to train. She was keen to see what she could do. So we took it step by step. She got some work done and we agreed when it was time to wrap it up.

SHOPPING PRACTICE: functional training at its best

The important lesson here is to learn to listen to your body. Don’t wait until it breaks to take notice. The body continually feeds back information. There’s a difference between being in a state where you haven’t recovered and can barely stand up and just not being in the mood to move or work.

Understanding the difference requires experience. Some of us wake up with a runny nose and decide to put our feet up and stay in bed, while others put on the running shoes and head outside for some exercise and fresh air.

Rich has been ‘feeling it’ this week also. By contrast, he sleeps really well. But he’s been feeling physically tired from the training (fairly common at the halfway stage). He’s clearly getting stronger and fitter, but not yet as lean as he would like to be (there are still five weeks to go).

NEEDING A LIFT: remaining strong through a tough week

Rich is an interesting case – and this goes back to how we are all so unique. As I mentioned a few weeks back, Rich has had almost every test going to figure out why his body hangs on to fat. Some of his testing has revealed that, for whatever reason, his body clings to fat in circumstances where others will shed it. He has a “moderate fat-burning response to exercise” and a “susceptibility to carry more weight and lose weight slower”, all of which stems from a “severely limited ability to release fat from fat cells and into the blood for energy use.”

For Rich, who loves a question and, even more so, an answer, not knowing the cause is more frustrating than having tried so many different options without success. 

Being vegan, he’s on a different diet to Stacey and we’re also experimenting with some other techniques which could accelerate the process of shifting body fat and improving his metabolism.

GRIND: it’s been a tough week for Rich

Training and diet, like life, is often a game of trial and error – working out what is the most effective way to do something. I’m adapting the Amazing 12 program to best suit someone like Rich.

Theoretically, as Rich increases his muscle mass – which he is doing – he should burn more fat. And as he continues to eat a wholefood diet with quality ingredients and in the right proportions, he should become leaner.

Over the next five weeks his strength is going to shoot up and so, too, should his muscle mass.

PREP WORK: getting the muscles ready for a workout

Rich, though, is concerned he won’t be able to maintain pace. He gives his all in every session and, consequently, has felt “battered” and as though he “running on empty”. He admits, though, that following his mum’s passing only a few weeks ago it’s been an emotionally tough time as well.

Although he “feels” like he’s running on fumes, what he’s actually achieving remains impressive.

It’s different for everyone. I’ve had participants feeling fantastic at the halfway point and bouncing with energy, while others feel completed wasted. The key remains to see it through to the end. The Amazing 12 journey isn’t complete at three, six or 1o weeks and there are many cases where the significant changes have happened from week 10 onwards.

What the participants often don’t see is the numbers – the data I collect from every session. Training sessions can feel tough and exhausting. And Rich’s tendency to search for his limits will contribute to that. But as someone’s strength and fitness increases so does the ability to extend themselves.

IMPROVED: Stacey’s way ahead of where she was last time at week 7

Stacey has already surpassed in most of the exercises on the program her performances from the first time she completed the Amazing 12. She’s not finding it any easier, though. The experience feels quite different. 

These guys are going through a proverbial storm. If they were boxers, they’d be on the ropes. But they are still in the fight. That’s the main thing and for as long as they are standing they have a chance to share the spoils.

As author Brendon Burchard posted this week, “No-one who has ever achieved greatness avoided struggle. They met it, engaged with it. They knew it was necessary.”

 

Week 5: Why repetition is so crucial

SECOND NATURE: Rich and Stacey can skip on auto pilot because they’ve done it so often

HAVE you ever tried learning something – it could be anything – and it just seems an endless struggle? Or have you noticed how some of us pick up new skills or perform tasks far easier than others?

We’re all different. We learn in different ways. Physically, mentally and emotionally, we are hard-wired differently.

It doesn’t mean we are better or worse than the next person. Only different. And if we want to improve or change, we can. But the way we are programmed means that change is often slow and only those who persevere with the process reach their destination.

The people I’ve worked with on the Amazing 12 Chichester transformation program have all had contrasting strengths and weaknesses.

My current pair, Rich and Stacey, now at the end of week 5, are no exceptions.

PRACTICING: Rich working on the hinge pattern

Rich, for example, has always found it hard to get the hang of the hinge technique which is essential for the deadlift and kettlebell swings, whereas, by contrast, Stacey finds it almost effortless. There could be anatomical reasons for this also.

“I just don’t understand why I find some things so hard and Stacey makes it look so easy,” said Rich this week.

But what may explain how some of us take more easily to certain tasks and challenges than others is that we are all programmed uniquely.

Our programming covers everything, from the way we think to how we move to our beliefs and desires.

I’ve noticed how there are things Rich has adapted to much better than Stacey, again highlighting how each of us is unique.

UNIQUE: some movements are easier for us than others

Crucially, Bruce Lipton, a cellular biologist and an expert on this subject, explains how most of our programming is done during the first seven years of life and some of it pre-birth.

By the age of seven we are very much set in the way we do things, hence the expression about “show me the boy at seven and I will show you the man”.

It may explain also how some of us seem so naturally talented. This ‘talent’ is programming that’s either inherited or learned during those seven years.

Our programming is stored in our subconscious, which is where habits reside. According to Lipton, we operate from the subconscious 95 per cent of the time.

“The subconscious mind is like a machine,” explains Lipton. “It records, pushes a button, plays back.”

SPEED WORK: sprinting with the prowler

Everything we do is being recorded, whether we like it or not. For example, the person who comes home from work, plonks himself on a couch, watches television and doesn’t move for the next four hours each day is recording a pattern he or she may not even realise is being recorded.

Or, as I have written about previously, the person who complains repeatedly is re-recording the same pattern. Or the individual who automatically reaches for their phone upon waking is reinforcing a pattern…

Lipton says the process for changing habits shouldn’t be rushed because it takes time, which, of course, conflicts with our impatience for results.

“You don’t want it to change very quickly, because otherwise habits fall apart,” says Lipton. “Habits are resistant to change.”

MODIFICATION: Stacey pressing with a football bar

The good news is that the programming can be changed. The bad news is that it requires work, action, discipline, commitment and patience.

Some challenges may seem impossible. But remember that on the other side of impossible is the possible.

So what is the best way to change this programming that is within each of us?

According to Lipton, there are three main ways. One is hypnosis, because, as Lipton explains, for the first seven years of life our minds operate at a low vibrational frequency. Many athletes successfully use forms of hypnosis to improve their performances.

The second – and more common method – is repetition: doing something over and over. “Practice, repeat, practice,” says Lipton, which is how it works often in the gym with developing and honing techniques and skills. It’s why, for the best results, training needs to be repetitive.

“It’s about habituation,” says Lipton. “Where you make a practice out of something every day and repeat it over and over again.”

GROWING: Rich’s strength is on the increase

However, the process starts with awareness – recognition of our behaviour. To change something, we need to be conscious of what’s going on. But, as Lipton explains, the conscious and subconscious mind operate differently.

Our thoughts are hugely important in this respect. Earl Nightingale, the famous American author who studied human behaviour, once wrote: “Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition will one day become our reality.”

Lipton adds to this that “the picture you hold in your mind creates the behaviours and biology you express in life. Take fear, for example. Fear causes 90 per cent of illnesses on the planet. It’s all generated by the perception of the mind.”

Therefore, a vital cog in the wheel of change is the belief that you can change. Practice and repetition in the right way can help to foster confidence that encourages belief that leads to change.

Energy grows where energy goes, so to speak.

HARD WORK: week 5 must go down as the toughest so far

Belief is something that can ebb and flow. I notice with Rich and Stacey how on some days and weeks they are more focused and confident than others.

This week at the Core Results Gym was particularly hard for them both, especially Stacey. She took a day off on the final day. I don’t encourage skipping training sessions, but there are times when it’s the best course of action. With the training getting harder and her continued lack of sleep, Stacey’s body badly needed some reprieve.

Stacey’s finding her journey through the Amazing 12 much tougher second time around, mainly because she’s stronger and therefore the loads she is having to lift and move are greater.  

Rich, too, felt it was a grind after flying through the first four weeks. He works tremendously hard in every session. But he admitted he had to dig especially deep this week and felt depleted by the end of it.

It won’t remain that way. That’s the magnificence of the human body (if treated respectfully). With sufficient rest, it recovers, adapts and comes back stronger than before. This is physical change.

ONE MORE REP: Rich is not one to give up easily

Remember the graph I used in my Week 3 blog illustrating a typical path of progress? It doesn’t always take a straight line, but the overall trend is upwards. This was one of those weeks where the line of progress was flatter.

Physical change can be a lot easier to alter than habitual change. For instance, Rich drives himself to the limit all the time and there are occasions where I don’t want him to (for good reason). He has had to learn to control that habit.

In fact, when you watch people train, as I do every day, you can see how the vast majority of actions and thoughts are dictated by habitual behaviour.

William James, the American philosopher, wrote in 1892 that “all our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits.”

TESTER: crawling can challenge the brain as well as the body

According to Charles Duhigg’s excellent book The Power of Habit, “habits never disappear. They are encoded into the structures of the brain.”

It explains how and why we can slip back into old habits. To change means overwriting one program with another.

“Habits, though, are as much a curse as they are a benefit,” says Duhigg. In training, someone who has a habit of losing concentration can cause themselves injury, while someone whose habit is to never give up won’t ever need motivating.

With regards to food and eating, bad habits, we know, can undermine our best intentions. Good habits keep us on track.

Therefore we need to identify (awareness) the habits that are holding us back and work on re-patterning and replacing them.

When I coach Rich and Stacey, I look to how they move and breath and think and respond to different stressors and cues to identify habits. If they need modifying, I remind them, sometimes repeatedly. Consciously, they will then try to perform or think differently until the action becomes subconscious and doesn’t require much or any thought.

SMILING: it doesn’t matter how difficult it gets, Stacey tries to grin through it

Whether or not 12 weeks is long enough to bring about lasting changes depends on the individual and how committed they are to the process of change and how deeply ingrained the original patterns are.

“Habits, as much as memory or reason, are the root of how we behave,” wrote Duhigg. “Once they are lodged within our brains they influence how we act – often without realization.

“They shape our lives far more than we realise – they are so strong, in fact, that they cause our brains to cling to them at the exclusion of all else, including common sense.”

Here’s the challenge for this week: try to identify the habits in your behaviour and thinking and decide whether they are in alignment with your best intentions and beliefs.

 

Week 4: Why muscles are a life-saver

BENEFITS: not many exercises can beat the Farmer’s Carry

IF you really knew and understood fully the purpose, function and importance of muscles, you might not be afraid of them. You’d probably re-evaluate your thinking or maybe even consider lifting weights or explore how to begin a resistance training protocol.

I have written about muscle before, but it never hurts to revisit a subject or expand on it or write about it from a different angle.

When people see the Amazing 12 Transformation program, it is commonly assumed that the process is purely in search of vanity – that the training and lifting weights and attention to nutrition is only to reshape our bodies so we look and feel better.

There is nothing wrong with that, of course. I’m all for improving the way we look and feel. Who isn’t? It’s the most common reason people go to the gym. But it’s the add-ons and where having muscle us useful that often gets ignored.

I shared a short video clip this week on my Intelligent Strength Facebook page that outlined the importance of muscle and how the latest research supports this (not that it was ever in doubt).

MOBILITY: I get shoulder envy watching Rich do these

We are usually at our muscular peak around the age of 30 and thereafter it becomes more difficult to retain. We start to lose more than we gain and this process of atrophy accelerates between the ages of 50 and 60.

But rather than resign ourselves to becoming week and frail, we CAN do something about it. According to the film clip, researchers have discovered that “as long as we keep challenging our muscles, we can hold on to and even increase mass into old age.”

I’ve found this to be true not only personally but also in people I coach. The problem is that as we age, we tend to reduce our activity levels and shy away from demanding jobs or tasks, when we actually need to work harder and manage our diets more smartly in order to retain the muscle that’s going to be essential for old age.

“A lack of muscle mass causes a lot of deaths in old people because they can’t prevent themselves from falling over and they struggle to look after themselves,” the film said.

Muscle helps preserve and maintain bone density. In the absence of muscle your bones become frail.

NEVER TOO LATE: Extraordinary Ann, 77 years young

I currently have a 77-year-old training with me and learning to lift weights. She’s incredible. It’s never too late to start!

Rich and Stacey, now at the end of week 4 on the Amazing 12 Chichester, are 48 and 38 respectively. Hardly old, but on the other side of 30.

Each has a clear understanding of the benefits of weight-training. They know also that while the program is designed to improve their appearance, it will boost their strength and fitness significantly, too. Stacey, after all, has done it before.

More importantly, they each comprehend that the journey doesn’t end after 12 weeks – that this needs to be a life-long commitment because that’s how long we are going to require our muscles to be strong and useful.

GROWING: Rich’s strength keeps increasing

“Having muscle is an essential part of growing old gracefully,” said Stacey. “It will enable me to move and function the way I want to.

“I want to be as strong as possible and if that means looking muscular, which some may not find attractive, then so be it.”

If you’ve not exercised in a long time and are overweight or out of shape, the idea of getting fit and strong can be a daunting one.

That’s why a program such as the Amazing 12 works so well. It can help someone go from next to nothing to making ‘amazing’ progress in a relatively short period whilst also providing a clearer understanding of what it takes – in terms of nutrition and lifestyle – to sustain it. It also teaches and drills important lifting techniques that can be adapted for everyday life.

Weight-lifting is effective because the demand on the muscles is greater (provided you know what you’re doing) than other forms of exercise. Rich, for instance, was doing a lot of training pre-Amazing 12, but found he was burning muscle and not building it.

In the short time he’s been on the Amazing 12, it’s clear, just by looking at him each day, he is starting to develop muscle, which was one of his objectives.

Stacey, too, has a healthy and practical view of what having muscles is about, but finds it frustrating that some can’t see how the benefits outweigh the aesthetics.

“I’d rather have larger muscle mass – and improve the functionality and health of my body – than not,” she said.

AHEAD OF THE CURVE: Stacey’s more advanced in her progress second time around

“I think it’s a bit of a myth anyway that women bulk up from lifting weights as we’re built so differently to men.

“Muscles are sexy. They show strength. How can someone who is strong, in whatever form, be regarded as unattractive?”

For Rich, part of this process is to become more ‘body confident’. “I’ve never felt happy with carrying a bit of fat. That’s why I’ve done all sorts in the past to find out why I can’t shift it – for both looks, vanity, self-confidence, but also long-term health benefits.”

Results are never instant, though. It’s important when embarking on a training program to be realistic about what you can achieve and how long it will take.

VARIATION: Practicing the Turkish Get-up

Rich and Stacey know the way I work. I’m continually reminding them of the need for patience, taking each step as it comes, enjoying the process, turning perceived setbacks into positives etc.

This week Stacey had to miss one session, her first, as she was so run down and Rich skipped three in order to attend his mother’s funeral. Yet he still did some training I set for him on the days he couldn’t get to the gym.

RAISING THE BAR: Stacey’s paying more attention to technique

There’s a level of commitment needed to accomplish a task or achieve goals or become successful or just stay the course and I’m more than happy with the progress Stacey and Rich have made so far.

To embark on the Amazing 12 or any other dedicated training program is sending a message that you place a high value on your wellness and physical performance. It means you are prioritising yourself and yet it’s something many us have difficulty accepting.

For some this will evoke a feeling of guilt. But is it wrong to want to take care of or take time out for yourself? And, as I often say to my clients, should you feel guilty if you’ve done nothing wrong?

As far as I am concerned, we are all ‘worth it’. Building muscle is one of the greatest investments you will ever make. In fact, in many cases it could be a life-saver.

If results, guidance and a tried-and-tested program is what you are seeking, why not sign up for the next Amazing 12 Chichester, which starts in January 2018? For ladies interested in learning lifting basics in a non-threatening atmosphere, I run a Sunday morning program. And if 1:1 or small group personal training is what you are after, I’m happy to help you achieve your goals. All enquiries to Claude@intelligentstrength.co.uk

 

Want the best results? Follow the program

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. 

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

Braver, freer and stronger

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The end product…after 12 weeks training

EARLY in 2016 I made the decision to dedicate 12 weeks of my life to getting as fit as I possibly could and in April I embarked on The Amazing 12 program run by Claude Abrams at Core Results by Intelligent Strength, Chichester.

For three months I trained five days per week, sometimes twice a day, adopted a strict eating regime and, under Claude’s careful guidance, built my body into the kind of machine that I’d previously only thought possible of elite athletes.

The incredible results that the Amazing 12 gets from regular people like me is now getting noticed all over the world and, yes, amazing is the only word for it.

But for me, it was what happened afterwards that I’m truly grateful for because the Amazing 12 gave me so much more than muscle.

Before A12 I was grieving. I’d recently lost my dad and felt adrift without him. He was my rock, my safe place and my moral compass. I never made a big decision without consulting him. Without him there, suddenly I was the grown up and it scared the bejesus out of me.

imageI have always been a worrier. I hate admitting that because it’s the thing I dislike most about myself. I am strong-willed and forthright and don’t mess about, but I worry underneath. I get anxious and fret. My dad used to be my safety net… he’d catch all my worries.

In the past, I’ve primarily used one method to deal with worry – avoidance. I found my comfort zones and stuck to them. I think a lot of people do this, especially when it comes to diet and exercise. We tend to stick to what we know even when it isn’t working.

To undertake my A12 training, I had to completely and utterly trust someone else with my health and fitness. That was a tough one for starters (because, like most worriers, I try to minimise anxiety by retaining control). I then had to unlearn pretty much everything I’d ever learnt about how to how to eat and train.

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Old school bicep curls

So 25 years of mental conditioning needed to go. Basically my comfort zones were a dot on the horizon.

To say the A12 tested my metal is the mother of all understatements. I worried, I doubted, I questioned, I stressed and, for good measure, I worried some more.

But after all that, I stepped up to the bar and lifted the damn weight.

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Double kettlebell front squats are not for the faint-hearted

Did the worry go away? No, most of the time I was terrified! But I did it anyway. And that’s the single most important thing I learned: that you can be afraid and do it anyway.

You don’t need to be confident in order to try: you grow confident by trying.

I have spent a large chunk of my adult life resisting change but in the months following the completion of my A12 program, I have changed my job, put my house on the market and cut my hair (this may not seem radical but I’ve been growing it for over a decade. Believe me, it’s BIG!)

I have been able to do all this because the A12 taught me that the things that scare me the most are usually the things most worth doing.

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Bench-hopping

To complete the A12 I had to embrace change, put aside my doubts and push myself through a multitude of fears.

The Amazing 12 challenged my perceived limitations on every level and as a result I am braver, freer and stronger, inside as well as out.

Although I am proud of my physical achievements, that is the real A12 legacy for me. I know I can change and I know I can handle it and that feels good.

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Sue Saunders, Amazing 12 Chichester graduate

Before A12 I would say that I ‘don’t do change’ because I never felt ready. It took a 100kg deadlift to make me realise I’m as ready as I’ll ever be! I think my dad would be proud.

*If you would like to become an Amazing 12 Chichester graduate, discover your super-human qualities like Sue and experience the transformative benefits of this program, the next wave begins on January 9, 2017. For more information and/or to apply, send an email to Claude@Intelligentstrength.co.uk

The Amazing 12 – what are you REALLY getting?

img_7700THERE are thousands of training programs out there. Most of them, to some degree, work. Some work better than others. So why even consider the Amazing 12?

The obvious is the extraordinary changes that can occur to your strength, fitness and physique in a relatively short time (12 weeks) to people of varying ages and body types. There are now countless examples of these transformations that have taken place around the world.

But I think it’s most important to look to what or, more specifically, WHO is the wizard with the long red beard behind all the magic.

Anyone can prescribe or devise a fancy workout and then tell you to do it. But the real value of a program or method of training is judged by its results. Nothing else matters.

Until the Amazing 12 went global, only those who trained out of Paul McIlroy’s Centaur Gym in Belfast could experience it.

imageTo really appreciate the Amazing 12 (if you haven’t been through it – and even if you have), you should understand who Paul is, what he has done and his credentials.

For starters, he is highly qualified. While I know Paul himself isn’t impressed by fancy titles, he has a BSc degree in Sport and Exercise Science. He is also certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). As an athlete, he was gifted and accomplished in many disciplines: amateur boxing (in a tough and competitive region); track and field; swimming. But probably his greatest success came in powerlifting (bench press, back squat and deadlift). There he won regional, national and then world honours as a junior, setting world records in the process.

img_8237For most of us, excelling in one sport is an achievement. But Paul has done it in multiple disciplines.

He still does Strongman training, bends the most impossibly tough nails, runs powerlifting, arm-wrestling and steel-bending clubs and last year (2015) himself competed in the kettlebell world championships in Dublin.

However, as a coach, Paul has, in my opinion, surpassed what he achieved as an athlete. For example, 18 months ago he formed a Girevoy Sport Kettlebell Club, the prerequisite being that the participants had to be athletic but without any previous kettlebell training.

Paul wanted to see how far he could take them and in the quickest time.

Thus far, from the group of seven, there have been 15 national gold medals (two national championships are run each year), two European silvers and one gold and bronze and at world level one gold, silver and bronze. That’s highly impressive.

“So I guess the experiment could be deemed a success,” Paul told me.

The inspiration for that ‘experiment’ was the experience Paul had training his wife, who he coached out of their family kitchen shortly after she had given birth by C-Section and having had zero sporting background. With only eight months preparation, she was able to go to Russia and win gold. That’s no fluke. Actually, it’s undeniably incredible.

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Fionnhbarr Toolan at the world championships

The most recent success of Paul’s was Fionnhbarr Toolan, one of the group of seven, who captured world kettlebell championship glory in Kazakhstan (October 16). Toolan’s programming was devised by McIlroy. “Paul’s coaching is world class on so many different levels,” he said.

In fact, Paul would regard his work with Toolan as one of the most exciting projects he’s worked on.

“It’s not just that he has won Irish, European and World titles in the past 10 months, but HOW he did it,” explained Paul.

“He beat a Russian and four Kazakhs in Kazakhstan! He also scored the highest jerk total in the championships irrespective of weight class, beating Russian super-heavyweight World Amateur Champion by two points.

“Bare in mind that Fionn is a kid who weighs less than 67k soaking wet and had never done the kettlebell jerk in his life prior to 18 months ago!”

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Red Nail

Another great passion of Paul’s is the official certified bend of the IronMind Red Nail. Paul is working with three men on this, one being Barry Mairs, who has only been in training for it for FOUR MONTHS. Barry is about to certify and Paul says his progress has been “insanely fast.”

The other two are Ben Mattingly, an Amazing 12 coach in Cork, and Adam Johnston. However, Paul has added another dimension to what they are attempting to accomplish.

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Captains of Crush hand-gripper chart

Dissatisfied with aiming to certify the Red Nail, on the same day they will bid to make a certified close of the Number 3 Captains of Crush hand-gripper. To give this some context, the Red Nail is a feat of extreme strength. Not more than 100 people worldwide have achieved it in the last 21 years and 200 in the past 25 years.

But only ONE man in history has ever officially achieved both on the same day.

To make it even more taxing, Johnston will try to accomplish the Red Nail with an underhand grip, which is regarded as tougher.

As you can probably tell, McIlroy’s forte is to take the seemingly impossible, see how he can up the ante and then create a way to make it possible and often relatively easy.

He has been at it for years. The honours roll on for those Paul has coached: Men’s Health cover competitions, EAS Body for Life (biggest transformation challenge in the world) winner in 2006. There are many more examples.

Nowadays Paul has scaled things down a little. He spends much of his time caring for his mother, who has fallen ill. He doesn’t get to train as often as he would like. So he has to be more selective in where he channels his focus.

“I work with a limited number of athletes in different sports/endeavours, which at the minute includes fighters, powerlifters, arm-wrestlers, kettlebell lifters, steel-benders and grip sport athletes,” Paul told me.

“Strength/power and its perpetual progression is my life’s passion.”

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So when you consider what you are getting on the Amazing 12 – the answer is not just the world’s best body transformation program that has been churning out success stories for more than 10 years. Perhaps more crucially, you get access to Paul’s vast – and I mean VAST – knowledge, experience, savvy and expertise as a renowned training program designer as well as a man who has been champion and created champions.

The Amazing 12 is a culmination of Paul’s life’s work in the world of fitness, strength and body transformations. Anyone who knows him will recognise Paul has an extraordinary mind and talent for what he does. If you want the best – which is what I did – don’t hesitate to sign up with one of the many coaches now around the world.

imageAll of us have been schooled in the Amazing 12 by Paul and supported in our development as coaches by him.

“The Amazing 12 has done an enormous amount of good for thousands of people the world over and that, for me, is a coaching/creative achievement,” said Paul. “No amount of weight lifted by me will ever top that.

“The achievements I have enjoyed the most have been the coaching ones – genuinely and hands down. Taking someone from a square one start and putting them on top of the world in some way never gets old. Just that moment of awe, at themselves and what they are capable of, which in some cases they never thought possible…nothing beats that!”

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Sue Saunders Amazing 12 Chichester

My next wave out of the Amazing 12 runs out of Core Results, Chichester, starting January 9, 2017. Become the next graduate. I’m happy to discuss details. Contact me if you are serious about making some changes and uncovering your potential. 

The shift that made all the difference

 

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WHENEVER I’m asked what I know now that I wish I had discovered earlier on my physical training journey it is this: approach your activity with the mindset of ‘I’m going to practice’ rather than ‘I’m going to train’.

It may not seem like much. But it has made a world of difference. Mindful practice shifts the focus from effort to excellence and from quantity to quality.

For years, though, I never saw training this way. I was young, felt indestructible and thought working out or exercising was something to do until sweaty and tired and out of breath or just lifting weights until you’ve had enough. In a nutshell, the emphasis was almost solely on my capacity for working hard. Often it didn’t matter too greatly what that entailed so long as I did something that could be labelled gruelling.

Many people continue to train this way…and all the time. That is fine if you are a young stallion or working towards a gold medal of some description, but, from my experience, it’s not sustainable or even worthwhile.

Progress, for me, isn’t measured in sweat or even being breathless and fatigued. But if you want to get burned out or injured, taking your body to the limit over and over is a great way to go about it.

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In the wise words of esteemed American strength coach Dan John, who, believe me, knows his stuff, “Don’t act your age, but train your age. Do everything you can to increase lean body mass and maintain the right amount of mobility….Life, lard and laziness are all conspiring against you in your noble battle to keep yourself as young as you can be, as long as you can.”

Even if your intention is purely conditioning, continually reaching and exceeding the point of fatigue comes at a price: recovery gets tougher; form declines; wear and tear accumulates. When the quality of your movement suffers, you become less efficient.

Worse still, over-training, which is what it may be defined as, can lead to injuries and illness.

If you enjoy your training, you don’t want to get injured. If you value health, you don’t want to become sick.

Effective training means you have a clear, structured and intelligent plan that leads to a chosen goal over a designated period of time. It means you know what you are doing and why. It means you assign time to training and recovering and intelligently manage that balance. I ask, what is wrong with leaving the gym or your training session feeling energised, ready for the next one, rather than exhausted and on your knees in a pool of sweat?

With practice as the driving force, the shift in mindset is subtle yet profound. Practice has a purpose and the path is never-ending. I now go to the gym to sharpen my skills. I know what I want to work on and how. The emphasis is on skill and efficiency rather than output. I can better structure my time in the gym. Focusing on practice also helps me to remain patient, which is vital in this day and age, because, realistically, skills take time to improve and/or perfect.

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On the Olympic rings

No matter where I am, I can put in the practice. I don’t always need to think about how many reps or how hard to push. Instead, my focus is on progression and quality of movement. I think in terms of ‘how well’ rather than ‘how many’ and, for me, that’s been a healthier change of perspective.

When you are dedicated more to skill than work, you’ll also find that you move much better and, perhaps most importantly, the chances of staying in one piece increase dramatically. At my age – in my 50th year – that’s a crucial factor.

I take this approach into the Amazing 12 transformation program as well. I teach it as a skill. I want each of my clients at the end of 12 weeks to know how to lift effectively and how to move and to be mindful of that whenever they step into a gym, training environment or in going about their daily lives.

Once the skill is dialled in the rest – strength, fitness, physique – will all follow.

As Aristotle once wrote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Fail to plan, plan to fail

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MAKE sure you have a goal or vision, a long-term goal. I really can’t stress it enough.

Without a goal it’s difficult to structure or design a plan. It’s like setting off in your car and not knowing the final destination. You’ll drive more in hope than certainty.

So if you fail to plan, you are most likely planning to fail.

Give it some serious, considered thought. Imagine where you want yourself to be, physically, years from today and work backwards. Then think about what you need to be doing to get there.

When it comes to physical training, working out without a purpose is just working out for the sake of working out. It’s not building towards anything. And the chances are you will, after a while, either become bored, disappointed, injured or just give up and say it wasn’t working or producing any measurable results.

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The Amazing 12 has a clear goal: to make you the best physical version of yourself in terms of strength, fitness and physique within a three-month training cycle.

But then what?

That’s where the bigger goal comes in.

A common question I am asked about the Amazing 12 by those considering it is, ‘What do I do when I’m finished?” or “what comes next?”

You have this great body that you can now do so many things with and you are scratching your head.

I look at them like the world will be their oyster and usually reply something like, “whatever you would like to do.”

The Amazing 12 can be undertaken for a variety of purposes and/or reasons. Are you just trying to get into better shape? Do you want to shift weight? Do you want to improve your athletic performance? Have you been skinny your entire life and want to bulk up, but get stronger and fitter in the process? Are you a competitive athlete looking for an edge? Are you someone who likes and wants a challenge and to explore their limits? Are you someone who just has a desire to improve the way you look? Are you getting married and want to feel and look at your best? Have you been training for years and not seen any changes? Are you someone who thrives on structure and needs something that provides that as well as guidance and motivation? Do you find it difficult to make progress without any accountability? I could go on. The list is endless.

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But I understand there is query about the aftermath: what do I do then? It’s an important question. From a dietary perspective, the A12 has that answer covered. With regards to training, the answer is ‘it depends’.

It comes down to the individual and whether they set themselves targets or are motivated to keep improving or have desires to keep learning new skills or further developing the ones they have. But I’d like to think that whoever invests financially and in terms of effort and time and commitment into doing this program will see it as important to make the choice to take care of themselves afterwards and keep building on the foundation that will be in place.

Why work that hard and let it all go? It would be foolish not to capitalise on it and that means continuing with some form of training/exercise or taking up a sport or embarking on another challenge.

Making exercise or training a part of your regime should be a lifetime commitment.

That’s why this program is life-changing: you come out the other side a different person in a different body ready to take on the world with a different attitude, having formed newer and healthier habits.

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Your body has to last you for the duration of your lifetime. Why wouldn’t you take care of it and have a lifetime plan in place?

What the Amazing 12 CAN’T guarantee is you will remain in the best shape of your life. It can’t do that any more than a dentist after a check-up can ensure your teeth will forever remain free of cavities or a surgeon who repairs an injury can insist the troublesome area will never flare up again.

But it is in your hands, just as it would be your responsibility to keep brushing your teeth or adjusting your lifestyle and training in such a way as to avoid the same injury occurring.

The Amazing 12 CAN be a launching pad to further challenges and it can serve as a program that satisfies physical, emotional and dietary needs and provides the type of learning that enables a graduate to become more athletically self-sufficient for the future and it can be just the ticket for someone who knows they have potential but by themselves can’t or don’t now how to fulfil it.

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“It is a shame to grow old without ever seeing the strength and beauty of which your body is capable.”

There are now hundreds of graduates from around the world testifying to the effectiveness of the Amazing 12 and here are some examples of those who have used the program to great effect.

Ben Mattingly, who runs The Forge in Cork, Ireland and has had dozens of Amazing 12 graduates walk out of his doors, picks out one of his outstanding clients who has been through the program now three times.

“She’s a machine,” is how he described her. “You name it and she can do it.”

This machine is a lady who came to him with an eating disorder and, by getting fitter and stronger, has moved to a healthier place.

Stephen Kiely, who runs Be Strong Training in Penrith, just outside of Sydney, Australia, points out how he’s had two of his A12 female graduates go on and compete in powerlifting and one man enter into strongman competition. Another of his graduates went on to be victorious in an international Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament.

“Whatever you want to happen after the A12 can happen,” he said. “You have set yourself a great baseline in strength and conditioning to prepare you for almost any endeavour.”

Shanna Jo Martinez, based out of Ramona, California with an extensive training background in kettlebells, strength training, nutrition and sports medicine, offered her perspective.

“I have a client named Gary. He is 62 and feels like he’s had a completely new lease of life. He’s not unfamiliar with training, but prior to the A12 had only met with his trainer once per week.

“On the A12 he gained so much strength and is now in his second round. He understands that training for life is key and that a body in motion will stay in motion. He is believing it because he is living it. He golfs better, sleeps better and feels better overall. His confidence and ability to stay on track with nutrition, which was a huge stumbling block for him in the past, is very high. He feels like he can continue to do this for a lifetime whether he is in a coaching program or not.”

Michal Radar Vratny became an Amazing 12 coach the same time as I did. He runs several successful gyms in the Czech Republic.

He told me in particular about one student he had, named Lucie. “Before the A12 she was interested only in wine, food, parties and books,” said Michal. “She did scam diets when she felt she got too fat, lost a lot of kilos, but also a lot of hair and muscle [she ate approximately 750kcal a day]. She thought she should do Jillian Michaels and eat low fat food.

“Prior to A12 she never did ANY sports and thought weights were for idiots. She could not hold herself on the pull-up bar. She was one of the weakest people I ever met.”

But then the transformation happened and you should see her now.

“After the first round of the A12 she managed 3 pull-ups, deadlifted 100kg at 60kg bodyweight, benched 65kg and was in great shape,” said Michal. “She told me she ate the highest amount of food ever and still lost fat!

“Fast forward one year – she can do pull-ups for sets and reps, trains handstands and on gymnastics rings. She knows very well what to eat and when and even writes a blog about training. She drinks only on very rare occasions, is in the best shape ever and enjoys eating [before, she would feel guilty anytime she ate something]. She created a habit and stuck with it.”

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More recently there was Kristin (above), a mother of four on her second round of the Amazing 12. She trained with Gan Power, who has been prolific in delivering superb transformations at his gym in Waterford, Ireland.

Why did Kristin do it again? In her words: “Having done the Amazing 12 last year I knew exactly the results this program gets, so the decision to do it again was an easy one.”

A second round isn’t going to be everybody’s option or choice. But at the end of the Amazing 12 you should be not only be more confident in your ability to train, but also significantly more physically capable and that opens the door to so many possibilities.

Set yourself a challenge and, with your new body, go for it.

*Want to be a part of the next wave of the Amazing 12 Chichester beginning September 5? A few places are remaining for someone who is driven, wants results, has a positive mindset and an open mind. Message me if you would like to be considered.