Life Changing: How I Lost 9% Body Fat in 8 Weeks!

I have been doing F45 for just over two years at F45 Brunswick East when I decided to do the recent F45 8-week Challenge (Challenge #17) properly. I have signed up to the 8-week Challenge once before but did not really stick to meal plans because I did not believe it would work for me. But this time I decided to give it a red hot go and stick to the meal plans as much as I can (My 30th birthday was smack bang in the middle of the challenge, so I knew I would not be following the meal plan then as one only turns 30 once).

The Challenge was split into three phases:

1.       The Detoxing, Cleansing and Alkalising Phase aka Spring Training:

This phase was two weeks long and the aim of this phase was to detox the body from all the toxins and reduce fluid retention. Hence, the consumption of dairy, caffeine, red meat and alcohol were highly discouraged and consumption of fruit was to be kept to a minimal and fruit with lower sugar content such as berries were included in the meal plan instead. 

2.       The Muscle Building Phase aka Regular Season:

This phase was four weeks long and the longest phase of the challenge. The aim of this phase was to build lean muscles and create muscle tone. During this phase, red meat and dairy were re-introduced into the meal plans and protein portion sizes were increased. The consumption of caffeine was allowed but was recommended to be kept at 1 cup of coffee per day.

3.       The Fat Shredding Phase aka World Series:

This phase was two weeks long. The aim of this phase was to burn fat. Hence, the meal plans were designed to be of low carbohydrate and high fat content to aid the body to burn stored fat. The consumption of complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and quinoa were absent and instead, cauliflower rice and zucchini noodles were used as a substitute. The consumption of fruit was also absent. But good fat such as avocado, ricotta, feta, cream cheese, haloumi, coconut milk, peanut butter and chia seeds were included in higher quantities.

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Going into the Challenge, I was not looking forward to doing the initial body scan. I knew I had indulged a little too much when I was in Europe during the festive period. My fears were confirmed as the body scan showed I had 24.5% body fat! As a result, I set myself the goal of reducing my body fat by 6% (which I thought was impossible in eight weeks!) to 18.5%.

Week 1

The first week of the challenge was hard. I missed my daily sweet breakfast of coconut yogurt, fruit and paleo muesli – eating eggs for breakfast was not something that I used to do in the past. I missed my English breakfast cuppa that I looked forward to every morning. I missed my daily dose of banana that I had before cycling home every evening. There were foods that I was not used to eating and having daily protein shake was not part of my routine. But as the days went by, I started getting used to my new routine and began enjoying the meals. Most of the dishes were delicious and being a foodie, I must say most of the flavour combinations were pretty good.

I attended six F45 sessions in the first week and only skipped one F45 main meal as I attended a friend’s birthday. The dish of the week for me was the Salmon Superfood Macro Bowl (but I swapped the smoked salmon for fresh salmon). It had four of my favourite ingredients: kale, avocado, salmon and quinoa.

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Salmon Superfood Macro Bowl.

Classes attended: 6

F45 Main Meals skipped: 1

Week 2

I started to get into the F45 meals in the second week. I was excited to make the dishes each time. But the meal plan was very restrictive and hence, following the meals strictly was quite difficult. There were nights when I was extremely hungry, so I had a protein shake and if I was still hungry after drinking 500ml of water, I would have 6-9 raw almonds. I also started taking magnesium powder this week as I felt my muscles were not recovering fast enough and it helped!

I attended six F45 sessions this week. The dish of the week was the Macadamia Crusted Barramundi with Green Beans. I loved the lemony-garlic flavour of the macadamia crust which went very well with the barramundi and green beans.

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Macadamia Crusted Barramundi.

Classes attended: 6

F45 Main Meals skipped: 2

Week 3

This week was not the best in terms of training and following the F45 meal plan. But it was a great week for me personally – it was my birthday week. I managed to only indulge on the weekend (thankfully) to celebrate my birthday and stuck to the meal plan during the week. I was afraid that my indulgence over the weekend would set me back and make me lose the F45 momentum for the rest of the Challenge.

I only attended four F45 sessions this week (as I was too busy having fun on the weekend). The dish of the week for me was the Goji Berry and Chicken Goodness bowl (but I replaced the brown rice for quinoa as I LOVE quinoa).

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Goji Berry & Chicken Goodness Bowl.

Classes attended: 4

F45 Main Meals skipped: 6

Week 4

After having an indulgent week, I got back on the training bandwagon. I was also happy to get back on the F45 meal plan as I was feeling ‘fat’ and unhealthy from the indulgent weekend. And I did not skip any of the F45 meals this week which I was pleased about.

I attended six F45 sessions this week. I had two favourite dishes this week: Chicken & Cashew Stir Fry and Balsamic Chicken with Crunchy Brussel Sprout Salad.

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Chicken & Cashew Stir Fry.
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Balsamic Chicken with Crunchy Brussel Sprout Salad.

Classes attended: 6

F45 Main Meals skipped: 0

Week 5

Knowing that I was at the half-way mark of the Challenge made it easier. I followed the meal plan as closely as I could this week but skipped two main meals as I had my brother’s birthday to attend. I did choose healthier options and kept my portion sizes to that suggested by the F45 meal plan.

This week, I attended six F45 sessions. The dish of the week was the Open Beef Burger with Garlic Sauce – you cannot go past a burger!

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Open Beef Burger with Garlic Sauce.

Classes attended: 6

F45 Main Meals skipped: 2

Week 6

I increased my training this week and attended eight F45 sessions – I doubled up on one of the strength sessions. The dish of the week was the Warm Kale and Chicken Dish.

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Warm Kale & Chicken Dish.

Classes attended: 8

F45 Main Meals skipped: 2

Week 7

I was hungry on most nights this week. This is probably due to the fat shredding phase taking place. So, I did snack on low carbohydrate and high fat foods such as raw almonds and peanut butter, but I had to watch my portion size as these foods are high in calorie.

I attended six F45 sessions this week and did not skip any F45 meals. There were so many great dishes this week, many of which I will make again. But if I had to choose just one dish, it would be the Pesto Zoodles with Chicken.

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Pesto Zoodles with Chicken.

Classes attended: 6

F45 Main Meals skipped: 0

Week 8

Going for gold, I increased my training and doubled up on both the strength sessions to attend a total of nine F45 sessions this week. And it was another week of great dishes! The Chicken and Cauliflower Fried Rice will have to be my favourite dish for the week though.

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Chicken & Cauliflower Fried Rice.

Classes attended: 9

F45 Main Meals skipped: 2

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Going for Gold!

Overall, I did 51 F45 sessions out of the 56 days. Personally, I love the Tuesdays and Thursdays strength sessions and towards the last 2 weeks of the Challenge, I increased my weights as I felt stronger.

As mentioned earlier, I tried to stick to the meal plan as closely as I could. However, due to events such as my birthday, I was not able to follow the meal plan to the letter. I did however watch my portion size and chose healthier meal options when I went out for meals. And as soon as the event/’out-of-the-meal-plan’ meal was over, I would get back straight into the 8-week Challenge meal plan – I did not get carried away with over-indulging.

Unfortunately, I did not weigh myself mid-way through the Challenge, so I did not know how much weight I lost weight during the first four weeks. However, 4 or 5 weeks into the Challenge, I could feel my work clothes getting more comfortable and less snug and some of my pants not fitting around my waist. This was very encouraging and kept me going for the rest of the Challenge. I also started getting comments from friends, work colleagues and trainers about having more muscle definition. These comments made me feel good as I knew the meal plan was working for me.

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Training hard (and always with a smile :))

From a training standpoint, my training did not change materially in comparison to pre-challenge. I have always trained hard and this did not change during the challenge. The only thing that changed materially was my diet! The night before the final scan, I was quite excited and was looking forward to how my new diet translated into numbers.

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Training hard every time!

The verdict…

Before After Difference
Body Fat % 24.50% 15.90% -8.60%
Weight (kg) 60.1 55.7 -4.4
Muscle Mass (kg) 24.8 25.6 0.8
Body Fat Mass (kg) 14.7 8.9 -5.8
Waist Circumference (cm) 80.1 73.7 -6.4
Visceral Fat Level 6 4 -2

I was stoked with my body fat percentage reduction of 8.6% (which surpassed my goal of 6%) and the fact that I managed to put on muscle mass (it is very hard for me to put on muscle!).  

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Final body scan time.

What I learnt from the F45 8-week Challenge?

  • I was not consuming enough protein for the amount of training I did;
  • I indulged in one too many snacks after dinner;
  • Protein shakes should be my new best friend as it provides me with protein that I do not get from my meals during the day;
  • I ate too many fruits and not enough protein for snacks;
  • Most of my breakfasts did not contain much protein and given that I trained most mornings, my muscles were not getting the protein to repair themselves;
  • My portion sizes for dinner were often double the size they should be;
  • I learnt the amount of protein, fat and carbohydrate that I should be having each day;
  • I learnt that delicious dishes don’t have to be more than 5/6 ingredients;
  • I do not need to add salt into every dish. Herbs, spices, lemon/lime juice and balsamic vinegar will suffice; and
  • Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym!

Overall, I have found the Challenge life changing and the only regret I have is not doing the Challenge earlier. I have learnt so much from this Challenge and many of these things will now be part of my new lifestyle. If you are contemplating doing the next challenge or would like to lose body fat/weight or become a more defined version of yourself, I would highly recommend participating in the next 8-week Challenge. Yes, it is a lot of effort and requires a lot of commitment, but you will be amazed at the results that you can achieve and if your results are outstanding, you might be the next winner of your studio or even better the Global F45 Challenge winner😊

I will be following the F45 Challenge meal plan for the first five weeks of the next Challenge, so follow me on Instagram for daily inspiration and foodporn (unfortunately, I will be away for the remaining three weeks of the Challenge and would not be able to commit to the F45 Challenge meal plan ). If you have any questions at all on the Challenge, please ask away and I will endure to answer them all 😊

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Love my strength sessions!

So, what are you waiting for?

Happy Training,

Suba

Xx

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