I apologise for the length of this post … It started out fairly long anyway… but has evolved (and is still evolving) as I receive comments and feedback from readers and as new information (from 12RNDs Fitness) comes to light… I did consider creating a new post, but thought it better (and fairer) to keep it all together so it could all be examined in context…

below is a brief timeline of events / updates :

  • 26 Jul : 11// Training Camp Starts
  • 4 Sep : 11// Training Camp Completes
  • 29 Sep : 11// Training Camp “Winners” announced
  • 1 Oct : This Post originally published
  • 17 Oct : Updated with extra info
  • 19 Oct : Apology via Phone from 12Rnds CEO
  • 20 Oct : Email from 12Rnds CEO
  • 21 Oct : follow up Phone Call from 12Rnds CEO
  • 24 Oct : Updated with my reaction to 12RNDs Responses

It is no secret that I have been a big fan of 12Rnd Fitness and have published a number of posts explaining some of the things I enjoy about their gyms. One of the things I did like, is that several times a year they hold a nation-wide Training Camp (6 week challenge), and as a motivator for members they offer prizes and awards for the “top performing” participants in recognition of their efforts.

Over the last couple of years, I have participated in most of these challenges, but never really took them too seriously, or pushed myself too hard… The latest 6 week challenge however (July to September 2021) was different…. Despite regular workouts (generally 6 times a week) my weight had plateaued and over the last few months had started creeping up… so I decided to take this challenge seriously, and not just push myself with exercise, but also be strict on food and diet as well. I was curious to see what impact good diet would have.

I set myself a target of losing 6Kg and 6cms …. and for the 6 weeks I worked hard – increased my exercise level by about 30% (7 days a week 1 1/2 to 2hrs a day) and whilst I wasn’t super strict on food…. I was MUCH more careful about what I was eating…

As per the Training Camp competition guidelines, I did the before and after photos, benchmarks and body composition analysis scans (these were stated as the criteria for judging the national competition)… and to be honest was astounded by my transformation.

My 6 Week Transformation

Over the 6 weeks I smashed my 6Kg weight loss goal… I actually lost 9.9Kg of Body Fat (11.4%), put on 1.7Kg in Muscle Mass… and reduced my waist measurement by more than 14cm.

I also :

  •  Improved my 1:20 Row Benchmark by 22m to a total of 410m
  •  Improved my 3:00 Push Up into Clean and Press by 5 Reps to a total of 42 reps
  •  Improved my 15 Cal Ski erg by 8 seconds to a total of 33 seconds

National Competition Winner ???

I actually thought I might even be in with a real chance for a win in the National Competition, as previous winners simply hadn’t achieved these sort of body transformation results :

  • #10 male winner lost 0.4kg total body weight and 3.9% body fat
  • #9 lost 10.5kg in total body weight and 10.3% body fat!
  • #8 lost 7.9kg, dropped 7.3% body fat and gained 0.5kg of muscle
  • #7 lost 6.5kg and reduced his body fat by 6.1%

The winners of the national 12rnd competition were announced 29 September… Unfortunately, I didn’t win … it seems that my results just weren’t good enough… Fair enough I thought…. the winners and runners up must all have achieved some truly amazing transformations….so I was VERY keen to see the winners results.

Update 19 Oct : One of the problems admitted to by the 12RNDs CEO is that some winner submissions went missing, because of an “administrative error” … I know of at least one other participant (also with amazing transformation results) who also questioned the judging process and whose submission also disappeared…. Neither of our applications (and I have to wonder how many others ??) were even considered by the judging panel for 11// Training Camp !!!!

Unfortunately… and very frustratingly… despite the fact that stats have been announced for all previous challenges…. Although they have published some Before/After photos… the Body Composition and Benchmark stats for this particular 6 week challenge have not (yet ??) been published. (I have asked if they plan to publish these, but they have not yet responded).

Update 17 Oct : Nearly 3 weeks later and I have tried to contact 12rnds several times about publication of results, but despite promises of a “human” response within 1 day – I am still waiting…. I know of a number of other members (and even Franchisees) who have raised concerns and they have also been ignored…

Update 19 Oct : Finally heard back from 12Rnds. Michael Jordan the CEO gave me a call (Interestingly the day after I sent them a link to this post and they became aware of how many people had been reading it) … more Updates added below, but at the moment I am not quite sure how to react to his response so want to sit on it for a bit while I calm down…

Training Camp Competition

The stated judging criteria for the Major Prize Winners of 11// 12RND Fitness Training Camp (6 week Challenge) was :

+ Before + After Photos
+ Body Composition Changes
+ Benchmark Improvements

However the only justification that has (so far) been provided for selecting the winners has been their before and after photos (which, to be honest are good… but not great). I am (of course) biased, but are pretty pleased with my own before/after photos, and believe (as do most people who have seen them) that they show more significant transformation than the “winners” photos. I guess I don’t fall within the demographic of their target market ??

Update 19 Oct : The 12RNDs CEO has admitted that “at some stage” a decision was made to change the rules of the competition so that the Major Prize ONLY took into account the Before/After Photos, and the Runner Up Prize would apparently include the Body Composition and Benchmark Stats.. This was apparently done so that clubs/members experiencing lockdowns as a result of COVID would not be disadvantaged… In principle I support this… they certainly deserve to be recognised… my BIG concern though is that 12RNDsy changed the rules but didn’t actually tell any of the participants about it. Michael said that they realised a rule change might be “controversial”… It seems to me that they made a decision to keep the rule change low profile and they just hoped no-one would notice ??
It is not clear exactly when the rules changed, but I have reviewed every email I received about the Training Camp… and right up to the final week (week 6) update, the Major Prize criteria was still stated to be based on Photos, Body Composition & Benchmarks !!!!

I am hopeful that the Body Composition and Benchmarking stats will at some stage be announced… and that the winners stats are amazing… but at the moment, it seems that as well as the stated selection criteria, there may be some other (undisclosed) factors at play…

Perhaps “judging” also takes into account the status of the club, and uses Training Camp as an opportunity to promote and raise the profile of certain clubs ??

Irrespective of winning…I am very happy with my own results… but it would be nice to be able to compare them with those of the winners… and it does leave a sour taste in my mouth wondering whether the judging is actually fair… or is the whole competition a bit of a farce ??… designed as a marketing tool rather than a proper competition based on the criteria they specified??

I guess 12RND Fitness can decide whoever they want to choose as winners – without having to justify it…. but if they plan to use their Training Camps as simply a marketing exercise, they probably shouldn’t pretend that Body Scan and Benchmark Data is taken into consideration.

Does it Really Matter ??

The more members and clubs that I talk to about this, the more I am realising how big an issue this really is… and that it may have been a problem for some time.

In asking around… it seems that there have been questions raised about the validity of winners for some of the past 12rnd Fitness 6 week challenges as well… with other participants in past challenges with amazing results (often apparently significantly better than the winners) not being recognised or rewarded. A number of people from a number of clubs that I have spoken to, have also expressed surprise and concerns over the selection of winners from past events.

I suppose that a win probably generates a bit of excitement at the “winning” clubs, it provides a marketing opportunity for them, and may even result in a short term boost to memberships… However, I suspect that if 12RND Fitness looked at the numbers, they would see a much more significant (and longer term) drop in motivation, participation, and probably memberships at many other clubs where Training Camp participants (who felt that they could/should have won) felt overlooked or ignored.

I know at some clubs there has been a drop in participation in challenges… (which I now realise may be because of this issue… from earlier Training Camps they had participated in…)

Fair or Farce ??

A Farce can be defined as “an empty or patently ridiculous event” and despite the fact that members can and have benefited individually as a result of the effort they put in during a 6 week challenge…. as a “competition” the 12RNDs Training Camp results could be considered farcical and certainly do not seem to be “fair” according to their own competition rules.

Future Training Camps ??

Unfortunately, I believe that many 12RND members seem to have lost confidence in the 12RND Training Camp judging process.

At the moment I personally, am disinclined to participate in future 12RND Fitness Training Camp “competitions”. However, if I do, it will be as a personal challenge, because the lack of transparency and questionable judging process means that “competing” for prizes and recognition is no longer a motivating factor.

Update : 17 October… It’s now 6 weeks since the last Training Camp, and 3 weeks since the “winners” were “announced”… 12RNDS have still not disclosed the winners Body Composition or Benchmark stats, but have been heavily promoting the //12 Training camp (commencing 25 October) and interestingly have declared the same judging criteria as previous challenges – i.e. :

An expert panel of judges will select a Male and Female Major Prize Winner at the end of the Training Camp based on their overall transformation, body composition changes and fitness benchmark improvements. An additional Male and Female Minor Prize Winner will be selected based on their Before and After visual transformation.

Lets hope that they actually do announce the results this time (but don’t hold your breath)….

Runner Up Winner Stats Announced

Finally, nearly 6 weeks after the completion of 11// Training Camp, 12RNDs started to announce the Body Composition and Benchmark Stats for the Minor Prize winners (which because of the unpublicised Competition Rule Change do apparently take these results into account… some good numbers, but unfortunately (for us), not as good as at least 2 entries I am aware of that weren’t considered because of an “administrative error” :(.

You would think that 12RNDS would be able to offer more than excuses and a private apology to those that missed out… but apparently not..

My Response…

Since hearing from the 12RNDS CEO, I have intentionally held off publishing my reaction for a few days. I wanted to see if they would step up to the plate to fix this issue, and also wanted to cool off a bit..

An Apology ??

I did eventually get an explanation and apology by phone and email from Michael Jordan, as did another member who had raised similar concerns of their own several weeks earlier.  Michael’s apology seemed sincere, he seemed to care,  and I do appreciate the effort… but a number of things in his explanation just didn’t ring true, and why did it take so long for them to respond in the first place ?  I am sure the 12RND CEO is sorry, but is he sorry for the situation, or sorry that this issue seems to getting such a high profile publicly ??

The Excuses

According to the 12RNDs CEO this is a highly unusual situation which occurred as a result of a number of issues :

  1. COVID resulted in lockdown of a number of Gyms (particularly in NSW and VIC)
    Some gyms which started the 6 week challenge went into lockdown so some participants were not able to complete their benchmarks or body composition scans.  We all understand that many gyms and their members are facing tough times at the moment and I think that everyone would agree that those affected by Lockdown should ideally not be negatively impacted, but : 
  2. They decided to “Change the Rules” part-way through (and not tell anyone)
    Apparently, part way through the 6 weeks 12RNDS Management decided to change the competition rules, so that the International Prize would ONLY be based on Before/After Photos and the runner up prize would be based on Photos/Body Composition Transformation/ Benchmarks.  It is not clear when these rules changed because although Michael assures me that participants were notified, I have not been able to find anything supporting this… each of the weekly Training Camp update emails (even the one for the final week 6) clearly state that the International Prize would be based on Photos/Body Transformation Stats/Benchmarks… Michael admitted that they realised this could be controversial, which I would have thought should make it even more important to keep people informed… perhaps the rules changed after the challenge was over, and they just hoped no one would notice ??. 
  3. Some submissions  “got lost” and were not considered, because of “administrative errors”
    Apparently some submissions (that were correctly submitted via the process defined by 12RNDs) were misplaced or overlooked and therefore did not make it through to the judging process… I was told that my submission was flagged as Spam (“possibly because it contained semi-naked before/after photos” – but didn’t everyones ??).  I know of at least one other application that went missing and they were told that this was due to an administrative error…  Who knows how many other applications didn’t make it to the judging at all ??  In both these cases Michael admitted that these applications were serious contenders for awards.  

The Outcomes ??

  1. Michael says that selection of The International Prize Winners by Before/After photos ONLY was a One Off caused by Lockdowns, and that past and future judging really will be based on Photos/Body Composition/Benchmarking as advertised (although what happens next time there are more lockdowns isn’t clear)
  2. 12RNDs will apparently review and change the submission process so that future submissions should not go missing again (but that doesn’t really help those who were overlooked in the past)   

I suggested that a fair option might be for any submissions which went missing because of the 12RNDs “administration error”, be included in the 12//Training Camp judging, however the CEO very quickly shut this down because it would “raise questions about their integrity”. This is an interesting response, because as far as I am concerned that is exactly what this whole issue is about…

Surely if “Integrity” was a concern, the right thing to do would be to ensure that all submitted entries were judged against the original (and heavily promoted) rules ???  They have refused to do this.

12RND decided to change the rules but did not communicate this.  When the results were questioned, they claimed that some submissions (which as it turned out would have been winning entries) had disappeared, so were not included in the judging process.  They also only responded/reacted to concerns, several weeks after the fact – once they realised that the issue was starting to become public.  12RNDs management don’t seem to be concerned about individual members or clubs suffering as a result of these issues, but they are concerned about the reputation of 12RNDs Fitness.

My Final Say ??

Despite my bad experience with the judging process of the 11// Training Camp, I would certainly encourage 12RND members to participate in future Training Camps  (and despite my experience, am still an advocate of it within our own club)… A 6 week challenges is a great way to motivate yourself,  and you can achieve great results… but don’t necessarily focus on “the prize” and ensure that you :

  • scrutinise the submission and judging process
  • get confirmation that your submission has been received
  • and if anything seems fishy… call them out about it  and complain… and don’t accept “Sorry, we messed up … Better luck next time” as their response !!!

I appreciate that 12RNDS have admitted their mistakes (privately), recognised that some members have been overlooked, and apologised. Obviously the CEO is more concerned about the reputation of 12RNDS than the experience of a couple of members, and I have to respect that, because that’s his job.

I didn’t write this post for recognition or reward, I simply hoped it would highlight an issue and result in it being fixed…. I believe that 12RND do recognise that they could and should have done better…  I hope they have taken positive steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and I (and others) will be keeping a very close watch in the future…

All in all a WIN for everyone (I hope) ?