Over the last eight weeks, I participated in something petrifying and extremely confronting. It pushed me far outside my comfort zone and challenged me on so many levels. It was the F45 Challenge.
F45 is what some people describe as the hardest workout ever. I agree. In a nutshell, I describe it as a 45-minute workout where you move around stations for specified amounts of time. The tv screens and trainers make sure you know when to move and where.
F45 was founded in Australia but has become a global phenomenon. All around the world, everyone is doing the same workout on the same day… how cool is that! With names like Red Diamond, Docklands, 22 and Abacus, the body is constantly shocked and challenged. There’s no room for complacency or laziness.
The trainers move around the room to make sure everyone’s technique is safe – I really admire their commitment.
What I love most is the F45 camaraderie. There are no posers, no instagram bunnies, no trout pouts, no silicon boobs and NO MIRRORS! Just down to earth, like-minded folks from all walks of life. Old, young, big, small… we have really bonded as a group over the past eight weeks. I am truly thankful for this.
F45 Wellington East is a safe space where the thing you’re competing against is your own mental toughness. Everyone is welcome at our studio. It’s not about who’s got the hottest Lululemon or Nike gear. No-one cares about superficial stuff like that. It’s about being a team, a family, a support for others when you see someone’s having a tough day.
Something else I love is the sounds. F45 have their own radio station (I know, right?!?). So, the blend of tracks are tailored to the workout sequencing on that day. I’m hooked! The F45 DJ’s mash up the tracks and I love that they span genres, decades yet everyone around the world hears the same mix on the same day… cool!
But what is the F45 Challenge???
I describe the #F45Challenge as an eight week programme that kicked my butt and my relationship with food into shape.
At the start, there’s a fitness test called the Playoffs, ‘before’ photos and weigh ins. Then you’re put into groups of about ten people with a dedicated trainer. The trainer is available to the group to provide support when the going gets tough. We communicated as a group in Facebook Messanger. I had an incredible trainer. He helped us with food questions, workout stuff and listened to us grovel through the first two weeks.
You see, the first two weeks of the food plan was the detox phase. No coffee, bread, dairy, red meat, alcohol, refined sugars. My body hated me for it but the results speak for themselves. So I pushed on…
At the start of the Challenge, I was a skinny fat person … looked ok on the outside but carried FAR TOO MUCH VISCERAL FAT due to my days as a drinker. YUCK. Visceral fat is dangerous and apparently can get to excessively high levels from poor diet, insufficient exercise, stress or alcohol. Mine was alcohol. Thankfully excessive visceral fat is responsive to exercise and dietary changes. So, eight weeks on, how did I do?
✅ Body fat decreased by 4kg
✅ Muscle mass increased by 1kg
✅ Visceral fat score decreased from 149 to 106
✅ Visual change in physique… people commenting on how I’ve lost my double chin and am more muscular across the shoulders and toned through the core. I can see mini abs and have lost my drinkers gut!
To be honest, I haven’t had my ‘after’ photos yet due to my eye surgery earlier this week. And personally, I can’t really see changes other than my clothes fit better. But I guess if people commenting, that’s the results right there. I’ll take it.
Some final pointers…
‼️ The F45 Challenge is HARD! That’s why it’s called a Challenge. There are no half measures. I believe you either do it 100% or not at all. Many people fell off the wagon during the period… several people ‘hard a hard day’ so ‘needed a wine’. These people didn’t get results, unsurprisingly.
‼️ Results speak for themselves. My fitness levels, strength and body changed… because I stuck to the food plan and F45 4 to 5 times a week. Ultimately it was my choice. Here are some before and after photos that I believe show what can realistically be expected, IF you stick with the programme.
‼️ Did I cheat, I hear you ask? No. Believe me, there were many days were I would have done almost anything for a slice of bread. My carb cravings went through the roof. But I didn’t cave.
Anyone can do an eight week challenge. But I believe THE REAL CHALLENGE is the maintenance period after the Challenge ends. So here’s to the start of the ‘new me’. I’ll look to integrate new F45 recipes into my week. I also feel more educated about carbohydrates, protein and what a smart meal looks like. I’m back to coffee but only one instant a day which I’m ok with.
Ultimately, I see F45 as a lifestyle and life choice, not a fad. It’s about more than going hard for eight weeks.
I am truly thankful for discovering this and am excited about integrating into my life alongside my other healthy activity such as my yoga practice, meditation and gardening.
Sending love and light to all xx
PS here are a few pics from my F45 Challenge. The protein bar wrapper is the most delicious protein bar I’ve ever discovered! Chocolate mint! If you see it in your supermarket, I highly recommend 🤤🤤🤤
And some pics of our lovely trainers and others. You’ve gotta have a laugh, right? Exercise should be fun!