Blog Written by Simone O’Shea.
You have made the decision that now is the time, you will take action to change your exercise and eating habits and work towards your very own body composition goal.
You have also decided that you would best reach your goal with the guidance of an experience of a qualified Personal Trainer. So you jump online and begin the search for the perfect service to help you make a shift.
It appears that almost every Personal Trainer and Fitness / Leisure centre you load into your search engine is offering a promise of transformation in a time period of as little as 12 weeks. Performance Personal Training is no exception to this rule with our very own ‘12 Week Shift’ beginning in April 2016.
But its always 12 weeks ……..Why 12 weeks?
Read on to see light cast upon this very question.
12 weeks the perfect time frame for setting short-term goals:
While a long-term goal will always provide you with a meaningful pursuit, short-term goals allow you to make small flexible goals related to the process of achieving your long-term goal. The short-term goal could be referred to as ‘attainable’ and ‘changeable’ steps that you need to take to reach your long-term goal.
It is possible to form new behaviours in 12 weeks:
Acknowledging that everyone is an individual and some behaviours may take you longer than others to change or swap for new healthier behaviours; a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology (2010), and proven results from past PPT 12 week shift clients; show that it is absolutely possible to change lifestyle behaviours (exercise & nutrition) in a 12-week time period.
It is also possible to achieve physical and physiological (how it works) adaptations in 12 weeks, including:
- Changes to body composition (decreased body fat, increased muscle mass)
- Improved posture and body awareness
- Reduction in stress levels – mental wellbeing, homeostasis of endocrine system (happy, well balanced hormones)
- Improved motor co-ordination skills – neurological adaptation
- Improved cardiovascular fitness & muscular / tendon strength / endurance – higher gains achieved by un-trained individuals in a 12-week time frame.
12 weeks is the perfect amount of time for a quality personal trainer to prescribe a safe and effective periodised training program:
A good personal trainer will have the knowledge, skills and experience to prescribe an individual periodised program tailored to suit the training age (how long training), and the goals and needs of each client.
This means that if you are a beginner client, your training program in the first few weeks will first prepare you in both body and mind for the weeks to come, and progress onwards from there as you improve in skill and strength; and become more mentally prepared for the physical stress that will accompany each training session.
If you are a more experienced client, who is able to execute correct technique, your trainer may decide that you are ready to experience more progressive overload in your training program.
Either way to put this more simply; a smart trainer knows how to use these principles to write you a training program that will get you the results that you want, without inflicting injury on you, or turning you off exercise for life.
12 weeks to a life-long training buddy:
One of the key determining factors of successful exercise adherence is social support.
Some 12-week exercise / nutrition products will provide you with some kind of social networking support for the duration of the program. With a private Facebook group set up for the 12-week shift participants, PPT is no different in this regard. No promises, but you never know if you will meet your next life long training buddy.
What happens after 12-weeks?
Some 12-week programs (and sometimes even less) offer promises of rapid weight loss by following a diet and exercise plan that you can not possible sustain after the 12-week time period (if you make it that far).
Ideally after the 12-week time period you should have adopted new healthy habits that you can sustain throughout your life, and enjoy the benefits of good health and more gains to come as you set future goals.
It’s ok to feel that you will still need to receive support, education and outside motivation to continue achieving your goals. Most clients and even many personal trainers themselves will seek the ongoing services of a personal trainer after the 12-week period.
So now you know why on every search, you stumble across the in-famous 12-week program.
Even though good periodised training programs work well in 12-week blocks; Performance Personal Training staff know that our clients do not live their lives in 12-week blocks. This is why the education provided to clients about exercise and nutrition during the 12-week shift is individual, flexible and sustainable. Make the shift in 12-weeks, get results for life!
Bompa. T, Di Pasquale. M, and Cornacchia. L. (2003) Serious Strength Training, 2nd Ed. Human kinetics. Champagne, USA.
Dalgleish. J, and Dollery. S. (2001) The health & fitness handbook. Pearsons, England.
Earle. R, and Baechle. T. (2003) NSCA’s Essentials of Personal Training. Human kinetics. Champagne, USA.
Lally. P, Van Jaarsveld. C, Potts. H, and Wardle. J. (2010) How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. European Journal of Social Psychology. V40:6.