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Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation (12 WBT) Review

A fitness plan that has taken Australia by storm, Michelle Bridge’s 12 week body transformation is certainly successful. Michelle Bridges herself began as a personal trainer, before appearing on ‘The Biggest Loser’ TV show as a fitness trainer for one of the weight loss teams. She is highly involved in the program, personally appearing in all the videos, articles and exercises.

What is 12 WBT?

An entirely online scheme, the fitness plan is based around prescribing the diet and exercise of participants for the 3 months. It is run 3 times a year at set times, meaning large numbers of people enroll and participate at the same time. It involves logging onto the site to find set meal plans and shopping lists, as well as the exercises to complete each day, and motivational videos.

12 WBT Preseason

The plan begins with a ‘preseason’ section – before the 12 weeks even begins, in which there are 8 tasks that are gradually unlocked for those enrolled that are designed to prepare you for the coming weeks. These are as follows:

  1. Introducing yourself to the online community
  2. Identify excuses you often use for poor fitness choices
  3. Setting short and long term goals
  4. Buying/finding any equipment or gyms you may need
  5. Telling friends and family about the plan to hold you accountable
  6. Sorting through your kitchen to prepare for the set meals, and throwing out junk food
  7. Organising yourself for the plan and preparing space in your diary
  8. Weighing yourself, taking measurements and photos from all angles.

These are designed to help increase the success of the program, as well as keeping people involved before the plan begins.

12 WBT Exercise, Diet Plan & Cost

Once the plan begins, you are provided with a wealth of information. In terms of nutrition, you are provided with meal plan options as well as a weekly shopping list. For women the daily allowance of calories is 1200, and men 1500. No other snacking or meals are allowed, and everything is set out for you in recipes. In addition to this, she provides educational videos about nutrition throughout the 12 weeks.

In terms of exercise, there are numerous options to fit around different lifestyles and fitness levels. Firstly you choose a level suited to your abilities. The options include:

  • ‘Weight loss’ for beginners, intermediates or advanced
  • Two specific advanced programs called ‘lean and fit’ or ‘lean and strong’
  • ‘Learn to run’ - for beginners looking to increase their running ability
  • ‘10k running’ - with intermediate or advanced options
  • ‘1/2 marathon training’ with intermediate or advanced options
  • A pregnancy or breast feeding program with extra calorie allowances.

You can then decide on your preferred style of training. There are 3 options here, too:

  1. At home – for those who feel self conscious or don’t have time to get out. However this option requires some at home equipment, including a yoga mat, dumbbells and bench, and an exercise ball.
  2. Outside – based around equipment that most people would have available in local parks and ovals, it incorporates exercises using your own body weight and simple equipment such as steps and benches.
  3. In the gym – for those participants with a gym membership, it utilises a greater range of gear options.

Once you have decided on your preferred method of training, there are weekly schedules given. These incorporate 5 exercise sessions a week designed to burn approximately 500 calories, as well as one for the weekend designed to burn 1000. The exercises are described in detail, as well as reps and times, so all that it is necessary to do is follow the program. It incorporates both cardio and weight training, as well as stretch and flexibility exercises.

As well as the specific meal and exercise plans, videos are released gradually with more general information. This can be healthy eating habits, staying on track and motivation, eating out sensibly, and many more. There is also an online community of the members with blogs and forums, where people can reach out for support or advice. Trained fitness instructors also maintain the site and answer questions. Your progress is tracked throughout the course, in terms of weight and body measurements each week. There is also a fitness test done at the beginning, mid point and end. The cost of the plan is $200 upfront, or $19.95 a week.

12 WBT Pros & Effectiveness

With an extremely specific guideline for participants, very little planning or deciding for yourself is necessary. For many people this is an extremely efficient and easy way to stick to some kind of weight loss program. It also incorporates both diet and exercise, as well as the mental side of weight loss, and there is a lot of information provided to help people continue with good habits after the program. The support provided by everyone completing the program at the same time is something many people find helpful. Problems such as a loss of motivation, plateau in weight loss or general life interferences can be discussed and compared, giving people a feeling of community and of not being alone in their problems.

The mindset of the program is also a fairly healthy one. There are no false promises or magic solutions;   the phrase ‘Just go do it’ is frequent on the site (modified in this article from the slightly courser version with the initials JFDI). She admits that it is not always enjoyable, and you won’t always have the motivation. Michelle compares it to brushing your teeth every day or taking a shower – you don’t see it as a chore, just something that has to be done as part of a daily routine. The program is also something that is quite maintainable with a lot of effort put into overhauling lifestyle generally, rather than just a short term plan that drops weight off, but isn’t practical long term. The numerous videos, articles and personal tips from Michelle that are fed into you over the course of 12 weeks help with this immensely. Good habits are also instilled over the 3 months – for example, planning meals a week in advance rather than making bad choices at the last minute, as well as putting exercise sessions into your diary so you are less likely to ‘cancel on yourself’.

12 WBT Cons

The exercise program could be considered fairly intense by those who are not in the habit of exercising regularly. Taking around an hour, it is also a time commitment many people find difficult to spare. There are different exercises each week, which for some may be a blessing to keep things interesting, but for others it is difficult to have to learn new techniques and read the information carefully afresh each week. The food, although healthy and quite filling, can be expensive for someone doing the program alone. For example, having to buy a whole tub of hummus which will then go unused for the rest of the week. The meals are also designed for two, meaning there is a whole lot of extra meals going uneaten. However, the beauty of the meal plans are that it is very versatile and modifiable, so you could easily save some leftovers for the next day or find a different recipe with some of the same ingredients that you used for a previous dish.

The lack of face to face contact also means that there is little to hold people accountable. The plan does its best to overcome this by encouraging people to involve family and friends, but at the end of the day if you don’t do it there aren’t any consequences. Falling of the bandwagon and abandoning the program is a lot easier than canceling on a personal trainer, for example. Perhaps the biggest flaw in the program is that it utilises a one size fits all approach to caloric intake, which is ironic considering just how easy it is to tailor the exercise part of the program. With any weight loss program, it's important to tailor both the diet and physical activity aspects of the plan as each individual has different energy needs and fitness levels.

12 WBT Review Verdict

For those people with some money to spare and not a lot of time to organise things yourself, this plan could be really effective. For those who find they lack personal motivation and organisational skills, you may find it difficult to stick to and start skipping exercises or meal plans. However, the weight loss is 80% nutrition, so even sticking to the meal plans without exercising the fairly high number of 6 times a week will yield results. For the price of a cup of coffee a day you also receive a large amount of information, and keep all the exercise plans and recipes for after the plan. Generally only about a third of them are used during the 12 weeks. Overall, 12 WBT is one of the more comprehensive and well thought out of all weight loss programs and is definitely one of the better weight and fat loss programs to choose.

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