While many think it’s near impossible to transform their bodies in a matter of months, a group of dedicated men and women have proven that it can be done.
Not only that, but they did so without fad diets or excessive exercise and reported even higher energy levels.
The secret? The F45 Eight Week Challenge – a program that uses functional training and a diet plan to help people increase lean muscle and reduce their body fat over an eight week period.
Steve, a 49-year-old concrete dispatcher from Erindale, ACT, started F45 in 2016 after his daughter saw a significant change in her body shape and energy levels.
And while he was pleased with his results after attending the studio four times a week for a year, Steve decided to try the Eight Week Challenge in October 2017 to see how he would go.
He is now the male winner of the latest challenge.
‘I was doing the training regularly but I wasn’t very strict with my diet and I was going out for a few beers here and there,’ Steve told FEMAIL.
‘I was fit but carried a little extra podge so I wanted to see if the challenge could help with becoming leaner.’
The eight-week challenge works in three phases – Spring Training, Regular Season and World Series.
The first phase is all about alkalising and detoxing the body by focusing on cleansing, eliminating, preparing and stimulating specific functions of the body.
During this phase, the body is cleansed from a build-up of toxins and there is a focus on removing fluid retention and beginning the process of eliminating sugar cravings.
In the first two weeks, they see huge results on the scale due to the removal of fluid retention.
‘This was the toughest phase as I was lacking energy and it was all superfoods plus I wasn’t allowed coffee,’ Steve said.
‘There was a lot of kale and superfoods so it was very strict.’
But after this, Steve said he noticed his energy levels skyrocket and his body was transforming despite eating more food and more protein than he was before the challenge.
This is because the second phase is about defining the physique and the nutrition is based on a high protein diet to support muscle hypertrophy, assist in muscle recovery and repair and create healthy fat loss results.
The final two-week phase is about entering shock mode and focuses on a high fat, low carbohydrate nutrition plan to strip the remaining body fat, enhance muscle recovery and suppress appetite.
A low intake of carbohydrates encourages fat storage to be used as the energy source instead of glucose. This is the ‘ultimate fat shredding phase’.
Steve was doing 45-minute training sessions four times a week throughout this period like he was previously so he believes his amazing results are solely due to his diet change.
‘The training side never changed so it’s proof of how much of a difference your diet makes,’ he said.
‘I didn’t weigh myself the whole time outside of my initial scans so it was amazing to see my before and after photos and see that I had lost five percent body fat and a kilo in that time.’
Steve recommends those who do the challenge do what he did and ignore the scales for best results.
‘Use the mirror to gauge your progress, not your scales,’ he said.
‘They can throw you off. The mirror is the best and only way to truly see how you are doing.’
Alica Walker, the previous female winner of F45’s challenge, managed to shed 11.1 kilograms and 9.3 percent of fat during her eight weeks.
‘My best friend did it and she signed me up – she had seen great results and I felt like I really needed to get back into shape,’ the 24-year-old from Melbourne, told FEMAIL.
‘I was unhappy with how I looked – I was 75.9 kilograms, I was tired all the time and I wasn’t eating well at all.’
‘I became a member and got to do the challenge for free because of that so I started on a Sunday and got right into it,’ Alica said.
‘I used a shopping list and bought everything for the meal plan (I ended up saving money in the long run) and I started to follow it from that Sunday.
‘The first week was awful. I had to detox from coffee so I was having terrible headaches and struggling to work out.’ But by the second week, Alica said she felt ‘incredible’.
‘Once my body got used to the new clean diet and no coffee my energy levels skyrocketed, I had clearer skin and I just felt so much better,’ she said.
Alica was waking up at 4.30am Monday to Friday to workout (HIIT style) before working at a nursing home until 2 pm and studying from 3 pm to 10 pm.
‘I was busy but because I was eating so well and working out it was easy to get up,’ Alica said.
‘I was more focused at school and I stopped feeling fatigued and like I needed coffee.’
Alica was doing cardio Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and strength training on Tuesday and Thursday.
‘I was also walking a few nights per week and meal prepping twice per week which really helped keep me on track,’ Alica said.
Alica said she stuck to the program the entire time and when she had a birthday party on week five she was sure to take a water bottle with her and eat beforehand.
Once she reached week eight and saw her before and after Alica said she was shocked.
‘I couldn’t believe it was me. It all happened so quickly and I was genuinely surprised at the difference,’ she said, adding that she is now about to start her second eight-week challenge.
Alica says those who wish to follow in her footsteps should remember that diet is the most important thing.
‘Turning my diet into a clean, whole food diet and actually following the meal plan was the most important part,’ Alica said.
‘There were people at my F45 who trained way more than me and I had better results because I was actually eating properly and doing the program right – I didn’t need to push myself to ridiculous lengths to see results.
‘Meal prepping is key. If you can take an hour out of your Sunday it is absolutely worth it in the long run.’
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