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Men's Fitness 12 Week Body Plan (Mens Health)
Men's Fitness 12 Week Body Plan (Mens Health)
by Nick Mitchell
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.12

103 of 113 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book - detailed (and slightly long) review, 9 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First and foremost if you believe this book is a revolutionary workout that is somehow superior to all the others then you are misleading yourself.
I say misleading yourself because the book doesn't claim it is anything revolutionary. It claims to be the workout used by Joe Warner for his 12 week transformation. And that is what it is. It never claims, as far as I have seen, to be new, revolutionary or superior. I wanted to get that out of the way as many people seem to cling on to these 12 week transformations as if buying the book will somehow be the magic fast track way to the body they want without the hard work or diet adherence.

Firstly the transformation. I don't want to take anything away from Warner or Mitchell - truth be told the result is very impressive. But those new to the training world should note - Joe Warner was not in quite as bad shape as the first picture illustrates in my opinion. The before photo is slouched, pale and unkempt. And the after photo is well groomed, pumped, well positioned, optimally lit and tanned. Is there anything wrong with this? No. In fact they openly admit to doing so in the book, detailing how you too can optimise your body for a photoshoot. Is it misleading to newbies...it could be argued yes if they have not followed the books build up. In my opinion this isn't an issue however it was just something worth noting for those who haven't followed the build up to the book.
This doesn't take away from the results, they are very impressive. Even when taking the week 4 photo as the before photo (which I believe would be a more realistic illustration of the start point, although Warner will have improved by this point) the difference between this and week 12 is nothing short of spectacular. However in this world of quick fixes the book may have gone unnoticed if the before and after pictures hadn't looked so extreme and this would have been a shame as it really is a worthwhile read. So I understand why they did this and to be honest see no real harm in it - I would do the same. It grabs attention and as noted they were honest about it. At the end of the day the end result doesn't lie, Joe looks in amazing shape. More muscular and very lean.

Now onto the book itself. The first point I would like to make is this book, in my opinion, is not for complete beginners - by this I mean people very new to the gym.
While the book gives detailed technique descriptions of each exercise, my experience is new trainees need a decent amount of time just practicing the lifts before they are apt enough to push themselves on them. Time needs to be taken to master the principle lifts like the Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press and Press before starting a program of this type. This doesn't mean you need years of lifting but I would suggest some time, 4 to 8 weeks or so, ideally with some coaching (however self coaching would be ok - lots of good lifting advice online) to become confident of the form of the lifts before starting the program - keep in mind Warner had the personal guidance of Nick Mitchell for his entire 12 week journey to make sure his form was on track. And from what I see in most gyms technique/form is lacking in general. Lifting is a skill that needs to be learned.
Another option for a complete beginner would be to follow the book with an experienced friend/trainer to keep check on their form.
Anyone with a bit of gym experience however can dive right in to the book - most of the exercises will be familiar.

Onto the program itself. Mitchell has gone to great lengths to break it down into understandable chapters, detailing each cycle in terms of aims, exercise selection, sets, rest, tempo. This is a welcome change to the usual "3 sets of 10 to 12 reps for 12 weeks".
Something that is worth noting is that the entire point of this book is to get you to look your best with the time you have (12 weeks) as Joe Warner did. And it geared towards that goal. It's not a strength or conditioning program. It's designed to radically improve your physique, adding muscle and stripping fat.
As stated above the program itself looks good. Very detailed and clearly explained. Each stage completely planned out. To rate it's worth in terms of results however one would need to carry out the 12 week program themselves, which I intend to do. Basing it on Warner's results the book very much delivers.
Something that may be a bit of an issue for some is exercise selection. Safety Squat Bars, Farmers Carry Bars and Sleds are not pieces of equipment that a lot of gyms have available. This is far from a be all and end all though and in my opinion these exercises can easily be substituted. Again this is something that a complete beginner will not likely be comfortable doing however most regular gym goers would have no problem with this.
When comparing it to books of a similar (or even much higher cost) there is a lot of detail for such a small book. It doesn't include any irrelevant or unnecessary information. Instead concentrating on the principles of Warner's transformation workout, which is what the reader wants.

On to diet and supplementation. I've noticed that a lot of people have claimed the diet advice is somewhat lacking in the book. Again I think this is something more applicable to a complete beginner. Mitchell does a pretty good job of explaining the principles he used for Warner's diet. Detailing carb cycling and when to introduce it and also explaining the depletion diet used to get photo shoot ready. So what's to complain about? Will someone buying this book as their sole diet resource be disappointed? Yes. Will someone with a basic understanding of diet and nutrition be disappointed? No. If you have a basic grasp of training nutrition the book details plenty of information for you to set up your own 12 week diet based on the principles. The only way for Mitchell to improve on this would be to write a specific diet for each reader, which just isn't feasible. In fact I applaud that level of honesty. I respect this over someone suggesting the finer details of diet and nutrition are not very individual because they are. The principles are what people need and that is what the books supplies - protein intake, food types, nutrition guidelines etc. Simply copying Warner's diet won't do - his calorie and carb intake will have been tailored to him specifically. So what to do? My suggestion to a beginner is to read some nutrition literature and then apply the principles outlined in the book to get the results.

Final point to note is Mitchell is offering anyone buying the book and willing to take the "12 Week Challenge" the ability to ask him questions once a week for nearly four months I believe. Credit where credit is due this is a great work. And for those with questions, queries or even complaints I say enter the competition, ask your questions, take the challenge and see where it takes you. If at the end you aren't satisfied with the results then make the point. Not before. You can't judge a workout without trying it in full.
Also many have commented "anyone could do that with a PT/a nutritionist/etc etc" implying without a PT the results are not attainable. To me that's a pretty defeatist attitude and in essence wrong. I see many people with a PT not make that kind of change in that time. And conversely people have changed their body on their own in much the same way Warner did by strictly following guidelines similar to those in this book. The book is the guide - you have to do the walking. Sure it's harder to follow it without the support and personal guidance that Warner had. So you'll just have to be dedicated. If you haven't got that dedication then the truth is you really shouldn't be relying on an 8 book and instead should be paying for the personal (or possibly online) guidance of a PT to get you there.

So to round up, for 8 the book is a bargain. Yes it lacks in some areas for a complete beginner. Yes it's been a little sensationalised in social media (and in the Daily Mail apparently - a paper many, including me, dislike). And yes it was a very impressive piece of marketing. However that doesn't take away from the fact that it's a good book at a good price. Don't expect it to blow you away with new information if you are not new to the training world. And don't expect it to be the only book you'll need to read if you are a complete beginner (though it could be if you read the rest of the background literature online). It is what it says - a book detailing how Warner changed his body in 12 weeks and the guidance for you to do the same. With the information included, the opportunity to question the writer himself once a week and the challenge it sets out, in my opinion it's 8 (or 10 now I believe) well spent. It's a little more than the cost of 2 magazines - when comparing it there is no competition, the book wins.

If you want to improve your physique in 12 weeks the book is a great buy. If you're a complete beginner get the basics first and then come back to the book when you're ready or get an experienced friend/trainer to help you start the book (probably worth buying the book now either way since it seems to keep selling out). If you're a slightly more experienced gym goer with some basic nutrition knowledge buy it, dive right it and take the challenge. In 12 weeks you'll likely be pleased with the results. Spray tan optional.
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