Our Story by A12 Creator Paul McIlroy

Starting at the Bottom

I know how tough business and life can be as a fitness professional. I didn’t enter the industry at the top spot, I came into the game the same place we ALL do…the bottom.

My journey in physical culture started over 30 years ago when as a child I became obsessed with Superheroes like Spiderman, Superman, He-Man, and The Incredible Hulk. Next, I found real-life role models like Bruce Lee, Arnold, Mike Tyson, Jon Pal Siggmarrson, Carl Lewis and other legends of the 1980’s.  It was then that I realized that ‘Superhuman’ was a human privilege and not a fantasy, it’s an attainable right that we all deserve to experience. It was right then, as a child, that I first decided to become ‘Superhuman’ and to help others discover THEIR superpowers also. It’s a path I never left from that day to this.

I started competing in sports as a kid in the 80’s and have never stopped. I’ve competed and won at the national level in several different sports over the years and represented my country at international level in 3 of those sports. My first major sporting passion was boxing where I competed successfully over about a 10 year period.

Then I moved on to powerlifting and within 18 months I became Irish, British and World Junior Champion in a few different federations. I’ve also had the pleasure of working very closely over the years with some of the best coaches on the planet from the Worlds of Boxing, Powerlifting, MMA, Olympic Weightlifting, Hard-Style Kettlebell Lifting, Strongman, Steel Bending, Girevoy Sport, Arm Wrestling, Bodybuilding, Fitness Modelling and many more.

After boxing, I was honored to represent my country again in powerlifting (early 20’s) and KB Sport (mid 30’s)

Athlete turned author and coach

I became a friend and associate of Pavel Tsatsouline when I became the first person from my country to certify as an RKC Level 1 & 2 and hosted the first RKC Certifications in Ireland and Britain. I’ve also contributed to a few of Pavel’s publications including the iconic book ‘Easy Strength’ and was a consultant on the construction of his Naked Warrior Certification.

As a strength and conditioning specialist I’ve also created 5 World Champions in two different sports (Kettlebell Lifting and Powerlifting) a Commonwealth Gold medallist in boxing and innumerable national champions in various sports, all from a square one starting point.

But despite my own athletic accomplishments and those of the athletes I worked with, I struggled with wanting to help a higher volume of everyday people to find their ‘Superhuman Self’ by not having a vehicle to do it.

With my good friends Pavel Tsatsouline and Dan John, I was delighted to contribute to their book ‘Easy Strength’.

But all that changed the night my father died…

OK, let’s back things up a little here. I should explain that a great deal of my life at that time was dedicated to looking after my terminally ill father. My Dad got sick right around the time that my own athletic accomplishments were starting to mount up, so a lot of the stuff you read about above was achieved whilst also doing my best to take care of my Dad, which was as hard as it sounds.

As his illness progressed he was taken into hospital and remained there for weeks until it reached the stage where the doctors felt that they could do no more for him. So they sent him home to spend his last days in a family environment.  Knowing that his return home was imminent I contacted a friend of mine, who was a professional painter and decorator, to help me and my family freshen up my Dad’s apartment and get it looking as awesome as possible in record time.

When my Dad came home and his face lit up with surprise when he saw what had been done it was a very special moment, one that would not have been close to possible without my friend’s help.

So, three days after this, my father passed away in the early hours of the morning with his whole family by his side. At almost the EXACT time that this happened (as later confirmed by a police report) the friend who’d helped me with my Dad’s apartment was randomly attacked in a street altercation and had his neck broken!  My family got word of this, but no one told me until later the next day because my Dad had just died. As soon as I got the news I headed straight to the hospital to find my friend facing potential paralysis and life in a wheelchair.

Unfortunately, this was not the first time he’d been seriously hurt. A lifetime of alcohol and drug abuse had led him down many roads that would’ve been best left unexplored. So as I sat at his bedside, looking at him strapped into position in a body brace, I knew that not only had I just lost my father, but I was also going to lose my friend as well if something didn’t change fast.

Saving the life of my friend

Right there in the hospital, with a deep-seated  need to save him because of how helpless I was to save my Dad, my mouth blurted out the first avenue that popped into my head, “Body-For-Life” I said, “I’ve read about it, it happens over in America, not sure if it’s over here yet, but if it is YOU can win it. The prizes are life changing but you can’t lose even if you don’t win because the process of training and transforming your body also transforms your mind, don’t ask me how I know, but I KNOW this process can save you if you give your all to it. I’ll train you for it and I’ll say it again…you can win”.

The next words out of my friend’s mouth was an oath. He swore to God that if he would let him recover and walk again that he would never drink alcohol or do drugs again, that he’d turn it all around and dedicate himself to winning Body-For-Life (the world’s biggest body transformation competition at the time with 10’s of thousands of entries).

Which all sounds great, but there was one slight problem that I hadn’t mentioned to him…I had NEVER trained anybody for anything aesthetically based in my life!  I had only ever worked with athletes and lifters! But, seeing as he was going to be a while recovering, and I was somehow sure that he WOULD recover, I had plenty of time to give it some thought.

Well, he DID walk again, and he DID so in logic-defying record time. So I DID keep my end of the bargain and apply my performance based strength and conditioning skills to the theories I’d subsequently developed around how to best apply that to the goal of aesthetics.

What happened?

My friend at the BFL final with first Body for Life Champion Porter Freeman

He becomes THE Overall Men’s Body-For-Life champion!

Well, would you believe it…he WON!! He became the Overall Men’s Body-For-Life Champion, won a ton of money, a year’s supply of supplements, a championship ring and jacket, but more than all of that he’d won his life back!  I’m also very happy to report that today, well over a decade later, he’s the father of 6 children, and a well-respected coach who owns his own gym and has NEVER used alcohol or drugs again!

Then what happened next changed my life forever.

News spreads…

Once news spread about my friend and what he had accomplished, other local people started to contact me to ask for my help. These were people who had similar lifestyle problems to those that my friend had. They wanted to get into shape, yes, but the physical part of it wasn’t the main reason they wanted my help. They’d seen for themselves how much of a positive impact the transformation process had on not only the body but also the mentality of my friend.  Most locals found it hard to believe he was the same person.

So I found myself helping these people, training most of them for free as I had with my friend, and with each new transformation, I was refining my process more and more, which saw the results just get better and better.  After about a year or so I didn’t have much money in the bank, but I had built up one hell of a stockpile of AMAZING results and a bunch of people and their families were a whole lot happier!

I felt compelled to help more local people transform their lives free of charge.

Right around this time, I launched a new look website, very different from my previous site which had been more strength & conditioning based. With the new site, I decided to showcase some of the stories and results of some of the people I’d transformed in the previous year. I then left for America to work with a multiple UFC World Champion at the time, Matt Hughes and thought nothing more of the new website. I was working with Matt and his team for over a month before returning home and the whole time I was there I hadn’t checked the new site once.

When I got back and checked my inbox for the new site my jaw almost hit the floor…there were dozens of inquiries asking how much I charged to do “that 12 week thing” (the program didn’t yet have a name) with some even saying things like “I don’t care how much it costs, just tell me when I can start!”  This was the first time that I truly believed that this program had the potential to transform the world one body at a time, so THAT became my new focus.

Can we really transform the world, one body at a time?

It might sound corny or even arrogant that one person felt that they could transform the whole WORLD for the better, armed with only a single exercise program. But, I was secure in the knowledge that if one plus one equals two today, it will still equal two tomorrow and next week and so on until the end of time as we know it. So if the Amazing 12 program can change one human life in the most dramatic way possible ‘today’, then it can do the same thing for EVERY human life, now and forever.

And so it began. I decided to charge a premium rate for this service right out of the gate, around double that of any other trainer in the city at that time.  Every new client seemed to expect this before being told, and they were more than happy to pay for what they viewed to be THEE best results they’d ever seen anywhere.

So what happened?

What a great experience working with two of the UFC’s most fearsome champions, Matt Hughes and Robbie Lawler.

The program EXPLODED!

Well, there’s really no other way to put this…it simply EXPLODED!! Over the course of the next decade the program that became known at the time as ’Paul McIlroy’s 12 Week Physique’ transformed not only the lives of HUNDREDS of people, it transformed the entire shape of the fitness industry in the city of Belfast.

Also, the graduates of the program didn’t just look great…they performed great as well!
Listen, I’m a strength and conditioning coach at heart and always will be, so anything I produce to get someone a better-looking physique will NEVER come at the expense of how that physique performs! In fact, it’s DUE to the hugely substantial gains in physical strength and cardiovascular performance that aesthetic changes of this magnitude are possible in just 12 weeks.

In Belfast alone the program produced at least a dozen individuals who went on the become national powerlifting champions as a direct result of the performance outcome they got from the program, having never been at that level in their lives before and in some cases having never lifted a single weight before!  Amongst them was a young lad of 18 years of age who had never trained with weights before.  But he didn’t stop at nationals, he went on to become European and World Champion…Oh, AND the highest totaling Irish born powerlifter of All-Time!

In short, the program worked universally!  Everyone was benefitting and achieving great results, men, women, young, old, middle-aged, big, small, fat to lose, muscle to gain, even so-called ‘hardgainers’, whatever the situation…this program delivered traffic stopping results time and time again!

Word soon got out about purely the physical performance gains associated with the program and before long professional boxers, football players, rugby players, Gaelic Sports athletes, swimmers, rowers, and more, were all doing the program.  In ALL these cases, huge performance increases were cited by both the athletes and their coaches as a direct and immediate result of their taking part in the Amazing 12 Program.

Results, results, and more results

The program also developed an unprecedented success rate with populating the final of the UK Men’s Health Magazine Cover Model of the Year contest. In an event that goes out nationwide and attracts entries of over 10,000 every year, the Amazing 12 program put a man in the final 12 a staggering SIX YEARS in a row!  One of our finalists even went on to subsequently win a Gold medal in the Fitness Model World Cup!

In fact, the results were so prolific and so consistently shocking, that they also started to catch the attention of significant fitness professionals from around the world.  I started to get e-mail inquiries from guys on the other side of the planet asking me how I’m able to do what I do, asking could they travel to Ireland for 12 weeks or more to intern with me, and asking how much it would cost to become a franchisee of my brand in their location.

Me at sub 5% body fat as a Men’s Health Cover Model of the Year Runner-Up

One program in one small gym produced 6 consecutive finalists in the World’s biggest cover model competition.

What did I think of all this? Hey listen, as I’ve already stated, my original goal with this thing has ALWAYS been about changing as many lives as possible, and I always knew its potential to do that went WAY beyond one location in Ireland. So over the next few years, my team and I wracked our collective brains and abilities and came up with a way to give this gift to the world in the best way possible.

Scaling the program beyond Belfast:


What we came up with was the most holistic 3 day live certification event ever constructed in this industry (our coach’s words, not mine), and we named it ‘The Amazing 12’.  This event was backed up by an impossibly detailed coaches’ manual, which went online.  The new system was designed to ensure that our global coaches could replicate the results that had been coming out of Belfast for the previous 10 years.

We had a long drawn out recruitment process that saw the vast majority of applications turned down so that only the most appropriate candidates got the opportunity to become an A12 coach. We held only 6 live events over a 2 year period, kept things very exclusive and certified only a little over 100 coaches worldwide.  But the big question remained…could the global coaches replicate the results that my team and I were getting in Ireland?

From hundreds to THOUSANDS of lives transformed

The answer was a resounding yes!

As you can see from these pictures, the newly certified coaches from around the world were immediately producing results just as good as anything I had accomplished during the previous decade! Once again we had proof positive that the A12 program works wonders for everyone…but this time the results were global!

Very soon, what had changed hundreds of lives in one city over a decade, had transformed THOUSANDS of lives around the world in less than 3 years! And it wasn’t just the physical results that had been replicated, the new global coaches were having the same intensely positive impact on their clients personal lives that I’d observed from the start as well!

Plus, as a direct result of transforming THEMSELVES into ‘The Neighbourhood Miracle Worker’ in the eyes of their community, the new coaches also found their calendars filling up with new clients faster than they ever thought possible (and their bank balances naturally followed suit).

From my perspective, THIS stage was by far the most satisfying part of the whole journey up to that point.  Nothing feels better than putting a genuine smile on someone’s whole life. But to then see that same effect now play out all over the world is something truly special.

To watch a program that was originally created to save just one life, now have the opportunity to impact the lives of THOUSANDS of people all over the world who I’d most likely never even meet…It’s been beyond a privilege.

Man we were riding HIGH! We had an innovative one of a kind concurrent training system that produced INSANE gains in strength, muscle size, fat loss, aerobic conditioning, anaerobic conditioning and sporting performance, simultaneously!

We had a hugely successful live certification that fitness professionals the world over were raving about! We had THOUSANDS of client testimonies from all over the world and coaches who’d earned as much as half a MILLION dollars from a single location in the process!

So you can guess what my next move was right?

Pulling the certification off the market


That’s right, I then…pulled it OFF the market!

Yeah…you weren’t expecting that huh? Well don’t feel bad, you’re not alone. I wasn’t expecting to do that either.  Why would I pull an already proven successful program from the market? Because I knew it could be better and I’m committed to creating the best solutions that deliver long-term success for all those we serve around the world. As great as many aspects of the product were, I felt something just wasn’t right. Holistically things weren’t as optimal as they could be, I could tell, it’s my baby, and nobody knows our own babies like we do right?

The three-day event was great, and EVERYONE went away with their minds were blown …which was the first problem as I saw it.  Pop quiz time, how do you cram 10 years’ worth of programmatic and dietary evolution/education into 3 days? Answer…you DON’T!  It CAN be done, and we did it very well.  But just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD.  Just because something works WELL doesn’t mean it’s the OPTIMAL option.  But, as you know, everything in life is a process and hindsight is always 20/20.

So with the 3-day live event being information overload, it sure was a good thing that the coaches were also given instant unlimited access to an incredibly detailed online manual that left no stone unturned right? Well yes, it WAS a good thing, it was a great thing in fact, but was it the OPTIMAL thing?  Looking back on it from where I’m sitting right now…no!

But again, when the program first launched worldwide it wouldn’t have been logistically feasible to structure its delivery any other way than we did.

Bigger, stronger, more powerful than ever before:
Body Transformation Business


However, the huge global success that we had afforded me the ability to take a step back from the coach recruitment process, cancel a years’ worth of certification dates, and allowed me to concentrate my time and energy purely on product improvement for YOU, the future A12 business!

So that’s precisely what I did. As UFC World Champ Matt Hughes had once told me, “Iron sharpens iron”, so looking at what (and who) was needed through THIS lens made the answer very clear to me. I decided to finally join forces professionally with my longtime friend Sean Greeley (the CEO of NPE). If you’re currently working in the fitness industry and you don’t know who Sean or his company NPE are, I’m surprised you can get internet under that rock where you’re living. NPE offers world leading fitness business solutions, and have so far successfully served 36,000 + Fit Pro’s worldwide and been listed on the INC 500/5000 on a staggering 8 occasions in the last 11 years!

That’s me with Sean Greeley (middle) and A12 Media Producer, Dwayne Matthews

I’m delighted to tell you that Sean hasn’t just plotted the new course…he’s onboard the ship! Watching Sean’s all-out involvement with the evolution of this product on every level is truly watching a master at work. At this stage, it has become profoundly obvious to me that he has been the missing piece of the A12 jigsaw.

Having worked exclusively with Sean’s crack team of some of the World’s leading experts in the areas that we’d identified for improvement.  Then, after some considerable investment, and 18 months of the most intense work of my life, we developed something absolutely unique which stands alone in its field! WAY more than just a certification, the A12 is now a 360 degree body transformation business in a box! 

We’re on a mission. Will you join us?

We are The Amazing 12, the World’s number #1 Body Transformation Business. Our mission is to help as many people as possible to radically transform their lives physically, mentally and emotionally. We aim to transform our coach’s lives financially by arming them with the most bankable commodity in existence…certainty!  

Yours in Strength,    

Paul Mcllroy