TWO days into the first week of another wave of the Amazing 12 Chichester and Stacey Satta turned to me after I had her do a series of lifts and said, “I’m shocked. I can’t believe how much strength I have lost!”
In fairness to Stacey, she’s spent the best part of the last 18 months in pregnancy and, after a C-section, focusing on being mother to her child, now just seven months.
Therefore, the journey back to regaining fitness can be a long one. But the most important part is that Stacey is doing something about it, realising fully that when you stop using your body fully or become less active, those parts of the body will adapt to a more sedentary lifestyle.
The road back isn’t an easy one.
Stacey’s husband, Adriano, who graduated on the Amazing 12 nearly two years ago, is also on this wave. They are supporting each other through the experience.
Digging deep when required
Adriano, 41, continued to train after his graduation, working out a couple of times each week in London. He’s moved around to a few different gyms, but admits his diet hasn’t been strict and he’s lost some strength. He’s aiming to shed some weight, get fitter and regain the look he had in 2015. He knows, from experience, that the Amazing 12 works.
For Stacey, 37, it’s less about the aesthetics and more to do with regaining strength. She’s someone who not too long ago, when training regularly, was able to deadlift close to 90kgs for reps, power clean around 60kgs and always had a good squat.
Solid back squatting form
It can be a tough mental space to be in at (what feels like) ground zero. But, on the positive side, there is only one direction to go – up.
“I’m not that bothered by my appearance,” said Stacey before she started the program. “I’m not happy about my physical fitness. I want it back. It’s a bonus if I look good at the end. I’m more unfit now than ever.”
Stacey and Jo Walsh, the third member of the group, used to train together in their CrossFit days. They were also part of a women’s lifting group. That’s what they each enjoy most.
Keeping it steady
I’ve worked with them both previously. Jo, a physio who specialises in older persons, has always been tenacious when training, but somewhat erratic in attendance – and she would be the first to admit it. Jo’s an all-or-nothing type.
“There’s two parts to me,” she explained. “There’s the very motivated and the one that hates myself and says, ‘why did I do that?’
“In the past I’d lose motivation and one day then goes to another.”
Jo’s not a morning person either and what I’ve prescribed her has meant rising while it’s dark. It will be a true test in developing her fortitude and discipline.
“As long as I’m up I’m fine, but it’s getting up that’s hard,” she said. I’m sure a lot of people can identify with that.
Having fun with battle ropes, though they won’t admit it
Jo, 32, hasn’t done any training for over a year, but she was always a good lifter. She’s 5st overweight according to the BMI (although I’m not a big fan of the BMI).
Jo wants to shed 2st as her goal. She also knows the benefits of training regularly.
“My mood becomes more regulated and I have more energy,” she said.
Diet is also a critical factor in achieving results. I don’t prescribe anything radical – it’s mostly about eating whole foods – but if your diet isn’t great and crammed with processed junk it can feel extreme.
“I’ll miss chocolate, pizza, ice cream, cookies and baked food,” admitted Jo before we started.
For me, as the coach, I want my group to experience and see for themselves how eating a healthier diet and combining it with training regularly, smartly and progressively can impact their lives.
So it’s vital on the Amazing 12 to stick to the script – not only for the best results, but to give themselves a fighting chance of succeeding and attaining the best possible results and getting value for their investment.
Unlike the others, Ben Brundle, a digger driver, has practically never set foot inside a gym in his life. He also loves his sugar, like Stacey loves her cakes.
But the results he’s achieved in a week are quite startling.
Getting fitter by the session
I gave Ben a few extra sessions the week before we started, to ensure his technique was where it needed to be and to allow his body to adjust to the sheer shock of training. Sure enough, he was sore. That was going to be unavoidable. But he now understands more how the process of adaptation works. Ben’s ability to learn and process new movements has been admirable and remarkable.
“My fitness was always letting me down,” said Ben, 31. “I was feeling a bit self-conscious about my belly, unhealthy and lacking stamina.
“I didn’t want to get to an age where I said, ‘I’m past it’ or say ‘I should have done that’, but didn’t.”
Since turning 30, Ben said he’s noticed himself standing out in the crowd as ‘the unfit one’. He does motocross and want to get fitter and stronger for that.
“Motocross made me realise just how unfit I am,” he admitted.
The deadlift set-up
Ben’s been a revelation so far in the gym. He’s focused, turns up on time every day and is good at paying attention and understanding movements. The test week he couldn’t deadlift at all or perform a push-up. This week he’s nailed it.
The advantage Ben had as a complete novice was there were no poor habits to change.
So that’s my introduction to this current wave: four starters, all here in different circumstances but shooting for a goal and using programmed training and healthy eating to achieve it.
Check in next week to see how they’re getting on.
Contact Claude – firstname.lastname@example.org