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on 1 June 2013
Ok, Life changing may sound extreme but its more than happy to leave this review and I will explain why.

I have been going to the gym for about 12 months and when I say going to the gym i mean sometimes 4 times a week, sometimes 4 times a month, doing the same 3 set exercises and not making any gains....until I found this book!

Im 38 years old and when I looked at myself in the mirror I thought I looked ok but after looking at Joe's transformation i wanted to give this a go. I made a conscious decision that I would give this 12 week plan a really good go and see what I could do. I took a 'before' photo and it was only then I realised how bad I looked. Trust me... Mirrors lie, photo's don't !!

I took the time to read the book, ordered some supplements and told people what I was doing...a few people laughed and said good luck on that, I bet it doesn't last etc... Which only made me more determined.

For me,the fact that I was following a plan every time i went in the gym just worked... One of the most important factors i took from this book was technique when lifting, focusing on this rather than how much you can lift..which is what the majority of people seemed to be doing in my gym.
The exercises take you through different cycles focusing on variation of reps, weights, supersets etc.. All of which are key to keeping your body guessing and maximising gains.

For me the toughest part of this book was not the workouts,but the discipline in the kitchen. I really struggled trying to keep my protein intake at the max level of 4g per kilo of body weight and early on I wasn't even making the min was only after week 8 I managed to find the right meal plans to achieve this. For the last 4 weeks i hit a min of 3g each day and I can honestly say this made a huge difference.
For a relatively new gym goer, with 2 young children i really had to plan my meals and stop eating my kids food. Not easy but if you want it bad enough you will do it.

I finished the 12 week plan 4 weeks ago and I am a completely different man now because of it. Not just in terms of how I look, but how I now view my diet, exercise and life in general.

I didn't really do the HIIT training to lose my stubborn belly fat ( which i really wish i did) I didn't really carb cycle, I had 4 nights out in the 12 weeks which were already planned in my diary which is some feat in itself if you knew me pre 12week plan. But overall i gave this a really good go and you can see my results on twitter if you so wish @bodieman

Since this book i have followed Nick and Joe as well as many other experts in the industry, I've asked questions, I've challenged and i am now following a different plan and will be waiting in anticipation for the 6wbp which is coming out soon. I am now fully dedicated to the gym, I eat healthy as do my family, I feel a million times better than I did before and I can't keep count of the amount of people who have stopped me and made comments. Some of my friends thought I'd photo shopped my 'after' photo's which says it all. I am 40 in 14 months time and I can't wait to take another photo on my birthday as I know it will be fantastic.

I did not end up looking like Joe BUT I started off at a much worse place. I started off at 25% body fat and ended up at 15% and I was thrilled with the results.

I see fitness experts offering 12 week plans for anything up to £300. This book is £8 and if you are committed to making a change this will be the best book you will ever buy.

Good luck !!!!
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on 9 January 2013
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 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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on 14 March 2014
Frankly, I don't understand the raving reviews here and after having had this book for some time, I honestly wonder who the authors are.

Here is just a bit of background. Myself and my boyfriend decided to take the gym a bit more seriously this year and go for a proper workout plan. We’ve never been gym freaks going 5 times a week, but when we do go we work with weights rather than running for an hour on a treadmill. I guess that’s close enough to “average Joe” for the purposes of this review. I was given a "Strong Curves" book, which turned out to be an amazing book but it’s very focused on female strength training. I also own Strength Training Anatomy which is great in terms of describing exercises and how they work certain muscle groups, but that's ALL there is in the book. I thought getting something specifically aimed at giving a proper, defined workout plan will be a good starting point until we learn how to compose our own programs, with emphasis on whatever it is we want to achieve. I bought this book after seeing the incredible reviews – should have known better and read the one- and two-stars reviews first…

Here is what is incredibly disappointing about this book and makes it simply not fit-for-purpose:
1) Contrary to the hype, this book is NOT for the average Joe (and to those saying this is not what the book intends to be, please clarify what the “in just 12 weeks, to turn an ordinary Joe into the cover star of the Men s Fitness magazine” part of the product description is supposed to mean). Exercises even in the first workout are way too hard for what most from-the-street people are capable of. You can't do a full pull-up? Well, bad luck, as it's your first exercise on the first day of training. If you're not in the gym that has a machine for assisted pull-ups then you're totally stuck, left wondering what else you can do instead, which leads me to...
2) Lack of explanation of progression mechanisms. Even on the first two weeks there is absolutely no mention "oh by the way, if this is too hard/there is no machine for this in your gym, try this variation instead". No explanation of how to vary the intensity of the workout, how to adjust it to what you can do when you start. Not even indication how to find your starting point weights and when to go heavier. There is no explanation which muscle groups are the focus of any given exercise so you don’t know what can be swapped for what. Perhaps in Nick's world all this is obvious, but it is NOT obvious to average Joe who just starts proper strength training. We are getting around this by referring to other books when needed – but it should be part of what claims to be “the definitive guide”.
3) My biggest issue, the descriptions of the exercises are *very* poor. You get two pictures “before-and-after” and a handful of notes (mostly in a form of tips) – but in weight training it is incredibly important to perform the exercise with proper form, and although Nick mentions it is important in one of the chapters, the book doesn’t actually contain information on what a “proper form” for any given exercise means. You’re left guessing what should be the correct posture, what muscles you should feel in the exercise if performed correctly – and so on. Sometimes simple things like changing how wide your feet are, or whether your toes are parallel or point out, can make a big difference – yet you’ll find hardly any of that in the book. We are continuously going to the other books to make sure my boyfriend doesn’t hurt himself – simply because this book is so vague and lacking important information on the execution details. Again, perhaps that is obvious to proper weight lifters – but not to average Joe and frankly, when I see the number of guys in the gym who e.g. round their back when doing heavy deadlifts, or arch their back or let collapse their knees on heavy squats, I start to suspect they all may have had similar ways of learning it as this book. It’s simply dangerous.
4) Way too big emphasis on supplements, especially ones of questionable reputation. There is still a big debate regarding supplements and there is good amount of research indicating that they are placebo at best, and actually may be harmful in the worst case. Yet none of that is mentioned and all the supplements are presented as a “must-have”. To me, a book strongly recommending taking anything beyond protein powder (which indeed is a fantastic and tested thing) and not saying “well, by the way, how well these work is still under research” gets a yellow card.
5) Other minor gripes, like ads in a book (seriously?!), poor quality of print, and the worrying trend of trashing any negative reviews here only add to the rather grim picture.

Most of this book could be summarized in 10 pages: eat a lot of protein, some fats, reduce carbs. Take this long list of supplements. Plus the workout plan – just a list of exercises by name for those who know them already as frankly, if you don’t know them you won’t learn from this book anyway. You can easily get all that information and example workout plans from pretty much any fitness site.
In other words, if you know what you’re doing in the gym and you truly understand the nature of the exercises, then this won’t hurt – but frankly, can’t see it massively helping either. If you need a book that will actually properly introduce you to strength training, go for a combination of Strength Training Anatomy + Strength Training Anatomy Workout. STA is absolutely fabulous, but it’s purely a collection of exercises with very detailed description, and no background on how to build a workout plan of this. Contrary to what I thought, the Workout STA is not simply a repetition of the main STA, but they work greatly in combination. I wish I just went straight for this as it’s exactly what I was hoping for when buying Nick’s book.
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on 13 February 2013
The book is detailed in all in the information needed prior to start the routine. Both the pictures and the text are easy to understand and very much to the point.
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on 11 March 2013
Being a female who has seen first hand the benefits of weight training, I was very excited to buy this book and get stuck in.

I started resistance training at the beginning of 2012 so my figure had improved considerably but the 12 Week Body Plan has taken me on to the next level.

My eating was pretty much honed already in that I had got into eating 'clean' (for want of a better phrase), prepping food etc, so the dietary info in the book, whilst useful, was a nice addition but I was more interested in the training side of the plan.

And I haven't been disappointed. In fact, my expectations have been exceeded. Im in week 9 just now and the progress I have made is pretty unbelievable. My progress pics make me shake my own head in disbelief because I honestly can't believe it's me in the photos! My stomach is the flattest it's been for years, my waist nipped in, my back has curved in nicely, my hams are visible and shapely, quads getting defined and my butt is seriously benefiting from all the squatting! The measurements I want to achieve are slowly but surely taking shape...literally!

The different micro cycles keep it fresh and interesting and it's great having a goal to work towards using such a concise and comprehensive programme. The book is laid out really well and the images and explanations make it very easy to follow.

I'd recommend it to everyone who expressed an interest in doing weights. Especially women!

Perhaps a book with a female transformation on the cover with a female UP Fitness PT, recipes and daily plans would help encourage more girls to start weight training and get fit and healthy for life.

3 weeks to go and Im delighted so far. Can't wait for the final photos!
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on 22 July 2013
This book transforms your perception of not only what lifting weight can do for your health but also the diet side of things - the basic evil of processed carbs, the benefit of veggies and nuts.
It gives you discipline - the workouts are well presented and explained.
theres variety so you don't get bored doing the same excersises over again.
The legs exercises are fantastic for raising testorstone levels - I'm 35 and for the first time I can grow a nice bushy beard!
The notion that skinny-fat people should stay away from flat bench pressing is a revelation,

The only negatives are that Joe was not an unfit person to start off with. To do 3 sets of 8 pull ups or chin ups when you have never done them before will be a challenge.
The sheer amount for animal protein which needs to be consumed is alarming (for ones cholesterol) and expensive. Not all gyms will have the equipment that UP fitness has.
The farmers walks and sledge drags are not practical for a busy gym with not much space.
Theres a huge challenge of staying away from carbs for the first few weeks and then limiting in western society where they're ubiquitous.

The only other negative is what to do after 12 weeks? Repeat the whole thing again or wait for the next Joe Warner publication??
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on 18 April 2013
this in my opinion is the best of the mens fitness magbook series. i really like the book and am currently doing the 12 week body plan. simple exercises simple sets simple reps simple meal plans and nutrition a really really good book. iv read a couple of reviews which say how come the 1st exercise in the 1st workout is chin ups, ever heard of substituting 4 a different exercise. you can do chin ups either use the assisted machine or do underhand lat pulldowns. if you cant do dips bench dips are a good substitute. watever exercise is there there will always be other ones 2 substiute. overall a really brilliant book i realy liked joe warners attitude towards the training aswell, train hard eat right and the results will defo come, also i think nick mithell is a brilliant personal training to.
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on 9 June 2014
well written exercise plan , but to be honest would have been better in paper format (more my fault as a buyer)
I personally do not need all the pictures of the guy the plan was based on. If you follow the plan correctly you will see the changes yourself. Depending on effort, diet and how strict you stick to it.

Even if you do not follow the book to the letter (you might not have a photo shoot) the information provided in this book will be a bonus to your training plan.

I have had a broken arm for a year and am still waiting for a serious op later in the year ..this has meant I have to have a very small and tailored work out to stay fit and healthy while not loosing muscle mass (more then you normally have with a broken limb)
this book along with other information based on diet and how the body works has allowed me to maintain a healthy 13.5 stone while keeping body fat around the 12% mark (very hard without heavy lifts and a full time stationary job)

I recommend it (4 stars as the graphics on kindle do not work for smaller devices)
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on 7 January 2013
For me, this is an easy to understand, no nonsense guide to body transformation.

Having actually followed the guidelines in the initially published plan followed by Joe Warner in the September 2012 Edition of Men's Fitness Magazine then through it discovering Nick Mitchell and UP Fitness, and making a very significant change to my body, I was very excited to see the publication of the 12 Week Body Plan.

Having read it from cover to cover and familiarised myself with its principles, I believe I'm now in a position to write an impartial, informed review.

This book really is a no-brainer: easy to follow for the uninitiated, yet detailed enough (remember this is a guide for the masses, not a university text book for budding sports scientists!)to satisfy the technically minded among us who want to know the 'why' behind what we're doing.

Using the principles of periodisation, the program presents one mesocycle broken down into eight microcycles.

The first chapter deals with explaining the process and how it works, along with practical advice on charting your progress and a glossary of terms.

Following on from that, you're straight into the microcycles. The introduction to each of these is an explanation of the purpose of that particular microcycle, how you can expect to benefit from it and how to do the workouts. Each workout is fully described, with a full guide on how to perform each exercise, along with trainer tips and the associated set, reps, tempo and rest prescriptions.

The nutritional guide is more than adequate, though I didn't see any specific guide to calorific intake levels based on body weight, but maybe that's because if you stick to the rules, you'll struggle to over-eat because protein really does fill you up fast. When I followed the original guide from the magazine article, I found myself eating the veg first and the protein after just to make sure I was able to eat enough.

I found the carb cycling section useful and the supplements section tells you everything you need to know: what/when/how much - job done!

There's an 'Abs and fat loss' section that explains the abs in detail, how to target them, which is actually additional in-depth info as all of the exercises mentioned are included within the microcycles. Also in this section is some High-intensity interval training, or HIIT advice, for those of us (men) who may need to work a little harder to lose that fat around our navel areas.

After you've completed all of the workouts, you come to the section 'Finishing Touches' which details exactly how to get yourself ready and looking as good as possible for your final photos.

Finally, there's a complete training diary for you to either fill in or copy to keep track of every single workout and what weight you use in each one.

You'll get out exactly what you put into this. Highly recommended.
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on 7 November 2015
Really good book, however I will put on here that some of the exercises you don't have to follow in here and it doesn't really cover that in the book. I noticed when doing this book that when playing football and doing sprints I was getting a lot of pulls in my hamstrings. This is due to my hamstrings being to weak. This has been from me squatting to much over the years and not doing enough hamstring exercises. I then had to incorporate more exercises into my legs days and take ones out that the book suggested that was making them worse (Recommended by my physio).

I personally would have eaten more carbs as well in hindsight as I pretty much wrote them all off, but that's just me. Everyone is different.

What I'm getting at is this book is very good for the average person and I'm in generally good shape and eat healthy but it doesn't cater for the niggly bits for each person obviously. So just be aware that if it hurts (not muscle ache) or you're getting problems you should probably see a physio or a personal trainer for personalized training.
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