Welcome to Week 1
Over the next 12 weeks A12 coach Claude Abrams will describe the experience of three of his A12 clients as they journey through the World’s best body transformation program – The Amazing 12.
This week Claude introduces us to the participants and we hear how they got on during week one of the program.
SUE SAUNDERS’ last conversation with her father, who sadly passed away last November, was about doing the Amazing 12.
Sue’s dad was her rock. She trusted him implicitly and ran everything by him so, understandably, she wanted to discuss the Amazing 12 with him.
While her father never really understood her passion for exercise and training and used to think she was crazy when she told him what she’d been doing during her CrossFit days, he did understand the value of being challenged.
“He knew what it meant to try to achieve something you think is out of your reach,” Sue told me. “That conversation we had was the final time he was coherent. He loved the mountains. He had aspirations to climb something big. I told him, ‘the Amazing 12 was my Everest’. It was a challenge to myself.”
In that moment, Sue’s dad turned to her and said, “You should do it.”
He smiled and laughed. “He understood my reference,” said Sue. “This way one of us gets to climb a mountain.”
A few days later, he passed away.
In May 2015 Sue had keyhole surgery on her left shoulder following a build up of calcium. Initially, the surgery didn’t seem to do much. But, slowly, her shoulder has returned to working order. Credit the guys at Core Results for helping to design a program that has effectively brought Sue to ‘Amazing 12 Base Camp’. Now begins the climb.
We’ve discussed doing the A12 for a long time. It means a lot for Sue. She still feels a sense of guilt that she’s being too self-indulgent. But her family is supporting her. A mother of two (aged 7 and 5) and professional photographer, Sue, 43, said: “I was never good at sports or sporty. No-one encouraged me to do sports. I didn’t begin using weights until I was 19. I never picked up a barbell until I started CrossFit [3 years ago].
“But I know I have the physique to have been good at something – given the opportunity. This [the Amazing 12] is like I’ve been given a second chance.”
My job is to guide her safely to that mountain peak and, as with anyone who has suffered an injury or undergone surgery, there are risks. But it’s one Sue feels ready and willing for.
“Being healthy and fit means everything to me,” she said. “Without good health everything is difficult. Being fit and healthy opens the doors to a full life. You need to be fit for purpose – to pick up your kids, run around with them…That’s your responsibility.”
Five years ago, when she took up running, Sue couldn’t make it to the bottom of the road (not far) without getting out of breath. Now she runs 6km three times a week. So she comes into the Amazing 12 in decent shape.
Although she’s excited, Sue’s feeling nervous, too. “This is all out of my comfort zone. I’m scared. I’m worried about not letting others down and being in the right head space. But it’s really important for me and probably something I’ll never do again.”
Never say never!
KARIEN GLADMAN, from Waterlooville, though originally from South Africa, told me: “I know where I want to be, but don’t know how to get there.”
Kari wants a change of lifestyle and to get into eating cleanly. Her desire is to discover her athletic potential. She’s a lifelong fitness enthusiast and (23 years ago) a former aerobics instructor. One of her dreams is to climb to base camp Everest.
Tall and lean Kari has done some CrossFit and Tough Mudder races, but lost her way after being at her fittest in 2015. She is motivated to be healthy and fit and admits in the past she may have over-trained in her desire to get conditioned.
I’m excited to work with her. She was knocking on my door to be a part of this wave. That told me one thing: she has the necessary commitment and enthusiasm. She also understands this is going to be a process.
Ross Smith has done CrossFit, Tough Mudders and distance running. Having trained Ross previously I know he’s a hard worker. I have no doubts he has what it takes.
Having spent time in the army and air force (as a firefighter), he knows about discipline and routine. I’m confident he is going to get the results the A12 promises to those who follow the program.
The last year has been a rough and tough one for Ross, who is in his mid-forties. He has lost his focus a little and the demands of being a long-serving paramedic officer in the ambulance service took a toll.
But Ross sees the Amazing 12 as a way to transform himself on many levels. He comes into this with his head in the right space. It’s great to see a smile back on his face.
The journey has started.
I’m enjoying working with three people who are so different not only in build, but also the way they move and approach their training.
Sue turns up every day equipped for her mobility drills before we get started. She picks up her roller, balls and blocks and knows exactly what she is doing and why. I have to give credit to the guys at Core Results for handing her a restorative program that got her body, which felt broken, working again. I wish everyone I trained prepared for their sessions like her. By the time we start, she is ready to roll.
Sue learned the painful way – through injury – the value and necessity of good quality movement. She may lack mobility, but has lots of stability. I don’t think I’ve worked with anyone on the Amazing 12 who has taken on the program with such focus on movement integrity.
With Ross and Kari, who haven’t had the same experience with injuries, my challenge is different. Everyone feels invincible until they get broken. The Amazing 12 is nothing like what Ross or Kari has done before. It can take a while to adapt to what’s really needed and how. But they will get considerable practice of the techniques, breathing and the best way to tackle the workouts in the weeks ahead.
Having worked mostly with individuals previously on the A12, I like the vibe of a small group. People feed off, motivate and encourage each other. This week everyone was on the evening shift.
Kari sent me a nice message: I absolutely loved this week,” she said. “Can’t wait for more sessions.”
They all complained a little about muscle soreness (the type that reminds you that you’ve been working your body) and I had warned them that was typical during the first week, where a lot of movements are new and the style of training not what they are used to.
“I felt it most across my chest and upper arms,” admitted Ross. “It’s been agony at times, especially trying to lift weights the next night.” Interestingly, Kari felt it most in her quads, whereas Sue said she could feel it all over, but that it was a “nice” feeling.
I know they will all get stronger with each week and their technique improves also. Sue’s always asking me questions (she’s the curious type), but I don’t give much away (nothing, actually) where the programming is concerned.
Turn up, do the work, eat as advised, trust I know what I am doing and let the Amazing 12 do its thing.