8 Week Challenge

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Ok, so if you were following on social media you will be aware that I did an 8 week fitness challenge with the F45 gym on Townsend Street. To be clear before I get into the review . I do not work with F45 and I pay for my memebership. It just happens to be the gym that works for me . I love it there and have found some real momentum in my routine. Long may it last 😊 Boring crap out of the way lets get into the good stuff. If you were following when I first started in the gym you will know there was a group of beautiful firemen that had started a trial …sadly they left the gym. Someone said it was because I kept staring at them but personally I think it was because they just weren’t up to the challenge !

What is the 8 Week Challenge ?

The challenge is a super simple concept . You have a body scan and weigh in before the 8 weeks starts and a special night hosted at the gym to give everyone an overview of how it works . During the 8 weeks you do your best to get in as many F45 workouts in a week and you are provided with a personal nutritional plan. There is a challenge app that you download which gives you a shopping list for the week and a daily meal plan including breakfast, lunch, dinner and two healthy snacks . After 4 weeks you get a mid way scan to check your progress and then again when the 8 weeks were complete . There is a tracker in the app to help you track your progress . This isn’t a vital tool but it’s a nice way to check in on your progress .

The Workouts

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The schedule for the 8 weeks consists of a different 45 minute workout everyday . Monday, Wednesday & Fridays are cardio based workouts. Tuesday & Thursdays are resistance based workouts and Saturday is the climax workout of the week, which is an hour long ( trust me those extra 15 minutes are a KILLER! 😂) I received so many messages since I started in the gym saying that it looks too hard for them or they are not fit enough to try F45. Anyone and everyone can do the workouts . It is circuit based work out so you just do what you are able for . Push yourself to your capacity. Lift the weights you know you can do and build up to bigger weights. The cardio classes definitely feel harder in the moment but you definitely feel the ache after the resistance days . Each exercise displays on a screen in front of you with a count down of how long you have to do it for so the format is fool proof. If you have never been to a gym before you will fit right in with very little transition.

Top tip : Do not start your first class on a Saturday as it is by far the hardest class !

The LionHeart

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One of the great tools they have to keep you at your best is the Lionheart. This is a monitor that tracks your heart rate throughout the class. It awards points based off your heart rate and its capacity. You are supposed to aim for 45 point per class. This totally depends on your personal resting heart rate etc. I don’t really know exactly how that part works. The thing I do know is that the heart rate monitor keeps me focused and on my game. It means I can’t cut corners and I have to give it my all. There is a scoreboard that shows a leaderboard of points at the end of the class but do not panic its not who the winners or losers are, it’s more about you competing against yourself. You get a report after class that shows how many calories you burned in the class and a graph of your heart rate. The lionhearted is €50 euro but I use it everyday and think its well worth the money. If you get signed up I would definitely invest. It’s so great to track your progress. When I receive my report after the class I get a little thrill knowing I kicked ass.

The Food

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Ok I have to confess that I am a really fussy eater ! I eat the same variety of food as a 12 year old child. This made me super nervous about the food plan situation. I figured I wouldn’t eat the majority of the food on the plan . The app provides you with a shopping list so I simply took off any ingredients I didn’t eat and doubled up on the ingredients that I did eat. To be fair there wasn’t a huge amount I didn’t eat and I pushed myself to eat things I usually wouldn’t . Now I won’t lie the first two weeks were really hard but it was more to do with getting into the rhythm of it. I hate to sound cliche, but preparation is key. I was also really sad to find out that what they say about it being 80% food that makes the difference is totally true. This made me so sad ! I think getting the food piece right is the hardest part, mainly because I can’t bloody cook. Now, if I can get through 8 weeks making these recipes then absolutely anyone can do it. They are so simple and extremely tasty. I also felt like I was eating more than I ever ate. As I mentioned, I didn’t eat everything on the menu but I tried so much I would never have had including protein balls made with dates. I also ate a chickpea brownie regularly. Yes people that is correct, the pickiest eater in the world ate dates and chickpeas. ( Disclaimer: I obviously did not have the skillset to make either of these things, I had Paul do the making of these for me. He is a gem, I highly recommend everyone finds a Paul!) I recommend setting your Sunday evening aside every week to set yourself up for the week. You can almost get lunch and dinner prepped on Sunday evening. I found that if I got Monday and Tuesday on track then I was determined to see the week out. Warning: You are not supposed to drink for the full 8 weeks of the plan. I did my best but honestly I couldn’t commit full time as it was the run up to Christmas and that was a step too far. I limited myself to once a week for a drink and only drank vodka sparkling water. Not ideal but look no one is perfect!

Top tips for food:

  1. Clear your house of the bad things and don’t let them in the house for the 8 weeks. If it isn’t in the house you are less likely to slip up.

  2. Carry a healthy snack at all times. This way if you find temptation kicks in then you simply throw the healthy option in your gob and distract yourself with something shiny until temptation fades.

  3. Do your shopping for the week as you won’t want to waste your food or money!

  4. Find a healthy option near work when times are super tough. Sprout was my saving grace. I was able to do a sociable work lunch or meeting and still keep on track with a healthy salad.

  5. If you fall off the wagon, dust yourself off and get back on it! Don’t write off the rest of the day or week just jump back in. Don’t look back just keep looking forward.

The trainers

Ok so I have worked with so many trainers over the years. I have been running around with Cinderella’s glass slipper desperately trying to find the right fit. Either the trainer is too intimidating and doing crazy things that I don’t understand or they just seem totally disinterested and I can literally see the dollar signs in their eyes. I have never met a more passionate group of trainers than the outstanding team at F45. They create a fantastic community spirit wherein everyone is willing each other along and supporting. I love getting to the gym not for the workout but for the palpable positive vibe. It’s fun and not too serious which is a massive distraction to the fact that you are about to pass out :) I honestly believe that if you get the trainer piece right then the battle is won. They have to know how to keep you motivate, know how far they can push you and make it enjoyable because trust me if it isn’t fun then you will not be able to maintain it for 8 weeks. Every class the trainers introduce themselves to anyone new and make sure they are super comfortable. I know starting something new is really daunting but these people honestly make it really easy. In no time you will be very confident strutting in the door and crawling out when the workout is done.

Final thoughts

I am so grateful to have found this gym. As I said before, it took me a year to get back into the gym as I couldn’t find the right thing for me. The format is weirdly addictive and the people are super nice and not your typical gym bunnies. You will meet every type of person there and everyone with the same goal. to have fun and get just a little bit fitter as they do it. Pricing wise it is not cheap but this is not a gym that you are just going to go to once a week. I am there 6 or 7 times a week (now I am a bit obsessed) but when I look at the price per session it is totally worth it. It is better than any 1 to 1 personal training session I have had. This is my second blog on F45 so if you want more of the basics of how it all works then feel free to go back and read my last blog which I will link below.

My results

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The most important result has nothing to do with the numbers or how I look and 100% to do with how I feel. I have never had more energy in my life. I have rekindled my positive outlook and have shed my dread of the gym. It’s now a space that I have a really positive attitude towards. I also lost 6.5 kilos and 3.8% body fat which is an extra added bonus. I am already excited to take on the next 8 week challenge. Especially after really enjoying the xmas period. The next challenge starts the 2nd of February . 6 days before my birthday but that it not going to put me off. If you guys want to join me on the next challenge definitely message me and let me know. There are 3 F45 in Dublin now ( Sandyford, Townsend Street and Bray) . I have popped a link below that gives the info on memberships and all the other details.

Hope you guys enjoyed the above and if you have any other questions on the channel just send me a message and I will get back to you asp. Will keep you updated on my progress because I am not done yet!

Love and Lashes

Mx

Mark Rogers