The Terminator Mentality, the Optimal Mindset for Massive Transformation

A couple of years ago, I had a relatively well-trafficked blog dedicated to fitness. I stopped paying attention to it as I worked on other ventures and ownership of it had expired without me knowing. The blog was lost. C’est la vie.

One of my more popular posts back then was about what I call the terminator mentality when it comes to massive transformation and goal achievement.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was tremendously influential to me. For one, he was the big strong guy that always had the best one-liners, and was unstoppable. As a youth who was rather meek, this is what I wanted to be, and actually is something I pay a bit of tribute to on stage during my strongman performances. If you’ve ever heard my one-liner after my finale feat “I need a vacation” that’s a direct reference to a quote in T2.

When Arnold was originally cast for the movie The Terminator, they actually wanted him to be the hero (later portrayed by Micheal Biehn).

He said “No, give me the role of the terminator.” And the rest is history. He exemplified the role not just because he looks the part. He exemplifies it in the way he thinks.

Image result for arnold schwarzenegger motivational poster
Arnold Schwarzenegger

With the terminator, it is the same way. The terminator was a machine sent back through time to destroy the future by killing humanity’s savior before he was born. He had one goal and was single-minded about accomplishing it.

Things that weren’t in line with the goal were either cast aside or destroyed while it was pursuing its mission. It didn’t whine, it didn’t complain, it didn’t get sidetracked. It would do everything in its power to do it.

For massive transformation, this is the mentality that it takes. You just simply have to do the things. You are either doing the program, or you aren’t. You are either following the diet or you’re not. Do the things and get the results, or make excuses and stay the same.

Now is this the way to live? Absolutely not. I tell my clients, life is for living. There is more to life than lifting heavy things and eating like a rabbit.

However, for short term heavily structured burst programs (as Dan John would say Bus Bench programs)….this is the way to do it. You just have to keep your head down and be single-minded in your mission in order to be able to expect the outcome the program promises. Then you can relax a bit and enjoy the fruits of your efforts.

In the past couple of years, superhero movies have led to a lot of interest in getting the Superhero physique. People want to know about their training programs.

What people should be reading about is their mindset. These people have tremendous levels of work ethic and motivation. They need to look a certain way for their role and will do whatever it takes to achieve it. Having a couple of million dollars on the line can be tremendous motivation.

“I’ve found it’s 80 percent psychology and 20 percent skills.”

Tony Robbins

So how do you know if you are on the right track? Get a proven program, learn what is required of the program. And then everything you do is a choice determined with a simple question.

“Is this in line with what I’m supposed to be doing?”

If you need that proven program and are willing to put in the effort then perhaps Amazing 12 is for you. I now save that only for the most dedicated members. Amazing 12 is all about what’s optimal, but that also comes with the optimal mindset for success. I’m actually putting together an application form to make sure they really are ready.

The more relaxed approach that builds incrementally over time is what I recommend for most people. Then when they get a bit of success under their belt and have shown me that they’re going to follow the program maybe I can put them through the Amazing 12.

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If you need help and think I’m the one to help you, let’s talk.


Eric Moss is a world-record-holding modern-day professional performing strongman, author, motivational speaker, and personal trainer. In the tradition of the strongmen more common during the turn of the century, he performs feats of strength such as bending steel and breaking chains as part of a show and speaks on goal achievement for corporations, nonprofits, government as well as for schools and universities. His exclusive personal training studio is located on Main Street in Boonton New Jersey, is close to Mountain Lakes, Denville, Montville and Parsippany New Jersey.

Photoshoot ready and strength for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

When the Amazing 12 Body Transformation Program gets a lot of attention because of the aesthetic changes it produces. You know, building muscle and burning body fat. And it isn’t hard to see why with the results it’s produced in a very short period of time.

However, what it does to “the way you look” is really just one aspect of it.

One of the things, and it’s actually the thing that drew me to it is the performance changes that happen. Specifically, two of the participants that trained with Paul McIlroy over in Belfast.

Strength isn’t about how much weight you can lift in the gym, to me the purpose is to make you stronger for life. Hence the strength for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness tagline of my studio.

So yeah, they got “gym strong” but how would this apply to strength that transfers to whatever it is you enjoy?

One of the more respected trainers out there is a guy named Nick Tumminello. He’s in the personal trainer hall of fame and had been named personal trainer of the year for 2016 by the NSCA and trains a mixture of regular people as well as athletes. Back in November, he wrote an article about the 4 main lifting movements. (the one on the right)

Now in the article, he had his own exercises that he recommends for the 4 main lifting movements and I wanted to show you how the exercises within the Amazing 12 program could apply to that model for transferable strength (what I’m about)

  1. pushing– This could include either bench pressing and overhead pressing, both of which are components of Amazing12
  2. pulling– This could include vertical pulls (ie chin-ups) and suspension rows both of which are components of…well you know.
  3. hip hinge– This is deadlifts, but I also have people perform kettlebell swings as part of the “muscular cardio” component of the Amazing 12. This is only if I’ve had adequate time to make sure they have good swing technique.
  4. knee bend– Squats

Each of the exercises that I listed in the various movement categories is part of the Amazing 12.

Another coach who has been a tremendous influence to me is Dan John. He originally caught my attention via the works of Pavel Tsatsoline and also Mark Twight (a world-class mountain climber and the trainer behind the transformations of Henry Cavill for the role of Superman, Gerard Butler and the others in the movie 300).

A list of Dan John’s functional movement categories can be found on this napkin which was posted on his Instagram page

In his book Intervention, he’d mentioned his strength standards that he puts all of the people he trains through. He also listed them in this article here http://danjohn.net/2013/04/strength-standards-sleepless-in-seattle/

Dan John trains a wide variety of people. Some of whom have Superbowl rings and others who on occasion take time away from training to go take out terrorists.

Now as for Dan John’s strength standards, the programming behind the Amazing 12 could bring someone from the standard of “expected” to “game-changer” in most of the movements. Though getups and loaded carries aren’t part of the program, it could be accomplished by doing it lightly as part of a warm-up, and then after Amazing 12 is done, giving them the focus to fill in the gaps.

I can’t verify it since the personal training clients I selected for it haven’t finished yet, but I’m fairly confident it will work. Right now, I have a jujitsu athlete going through the program that had started around the “expected” standard. Pending on how he finishes, it’ll make a decent case study.

So even though the Amazing 12 attracts people because of the before and after pictures, I truly believe that it’ll be the transformation that happens to their all-around strength (inside and out) that will truly make the difference in their lives.

It definitely made a difference in mine, as well as my regular personal training clients.

Strength for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That’s what it’s really about.


Eric Moss is a world-record-holding modern-day professional performing strongman, author, motivational speaker, and personal trainer. In the tradition of the strongmen more common during the turn of the century, he performs feats of strength such as bending steel and breaking chains as part of a show and speaks on goal achievement for corporations, nonprofits, government as well as for schools and universities. His exclusive personal training studio is located on Main Street in Boonton New Jersey, is close to Mountain Lakes, Denville, Montville and Parsippany New Jersey.

Charms on Main Street in Boonton

My personal training studio is on Main Street in Boonton, and prior to moving in there, I promised my landlord I would contribute to the community. I do this in a variety of ways including doing workshops at the library across the street, fundraisers for the elks (using my services as an entertainer), becoming part of the committee for the upcoming Boonton Fitness crawl and basically anything I can think of.

Boonton Main Street (a non-profit dedicated to fostering community and preserving the history of Boonton) had an event called “Ladies night out” where participating businesses would have charms that represented something their business was about.

So I participated and had some charms that might seem out of place, but actually do represent my personal training studio. I figured I’d have a quick explanation of each of them.

Butterfly Charm

This one might seem out of place since my training studio can look just a little harsh to an outsider. I mean kettlebells and free weights can look intimidating to a passerby on their own, but I also decorate it with steel I had bent in my strongman shows, and a chain of nails that I bent in my hands hangs in the window. So what gives with the butterfly?

Simple, the butterfly is a symbol of transformation. And that is what we do. Not just a transformation of the body, but a transformation of the mind (self-confidence). I don’t transform you into something you aren’t, I transform you into who you were meant to be. Just like the caterpillar is meant to sprout wings and fly, humans are meant to be strong, lean, athletic, mobile and to strive for more. It transformed my life that’s for sure. This is what I do.

Strength Charm

This one is a bit more obvious. I make people strong as a foundation. One because I’m really passionate about it, Two because I’m really good at teaching it and three because it makes just about anything else you want to achieve better. One thing I’ve observed is that when people come to me initially it’s because they want to look better. Through training with me, yes they look better, but they also get a lot stronger. And I noticed they enjoy the strength more than the way they look.

Focus Charm

This one reflects a mistake I see in a lot of training programs. There is a lack of focus. You see training (working towards a goal) is about adaptation. Give your body a challenge to adapt to, and various inner workings in your body adapt by making you stronger, more cardiovascularly fit etc. Your body can only adapt to so many things at once, so focus on the ones that provide the most bang for the buck. Jack of all trades is the master of none.

Passion Charm

The tagline of my studio is “Strength for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. What this basically means is that the things we do in the personal training studio, are meant to make whatever you enjoy, better. What are you passionate about? If you love triathlons, I’m there to make you better at them. If it’s quite simply living life, you should have the physical capabilities to be able to do them. As an example, I had a personal training client that loved skiing, though he hadn’t been able to do it in years. He simply wanted to be able to roll around with his grandkids. I got him to be able to do both.

Imagine Charm

When I bring people in for a goal assessment interview, I’ll ask them what do you want? Many times they’ll say something vague like “I want to be in shape” or “I want to get stronger”. What I try and tease out of them is something specific to aim for. If I can get them to imagine their ideal end result, and explain it to me, I can then figure out what would be needed to get there. Every great endeavor started in the imagination.

Discipline Charm

I sometimes hear my colleagues say “motivation in overrated, what you need is discipline.” I take issue with this since I’m a motivational speaker in addition to being a personal trainer. Yes, discipline is a key factor, but it’s also something that can wear out the more you use it. What people need is the motivation to get started then guidance, support, and accountability to keep them on track. This is what I do.

Integrity Charm

The fitness industry is rife with misinformation. From social media influencers giving out bad advice to weight loss pills and other shady supplements. Some want to con you out of your money. Some simply don’t know what they are talking about and it can be confusing to the consumer. It used to be thought that having more information would be better, but actually these days it’s less about learning more and more about learning what to ignore. What I attempt to be for my personal training clients is to simply be a source they can trust. An expert that legitimately wants what’s best for them. And the only way for me to do that is to hold my integrity at the paramount.

I do still have some charms leftover, I’ll donate some of them to the Main Street Boonton crawl, and give others to my daughters. That’s it for today.


Eric Moss is a world-record-holding modern-day professional performing strongman, author, motivational speaker, and personal trainer. In the tradition of the strongmen more common during the turn of the century, he performs feats of strength such as bending steel and breaking chains as part of a show and speaks on goal achievement for corporations, nonprofits, government as well as for schools and universities. His exclusive personal training studio is located on Main Street in Boonton New Jersey, is close to Mountain Lakes, Denville, Montville and Parsippany New Jersey.