So the F45 8 Week Challenge is in full swing, as I am writing this we have nearly wrapped up week 4 and I am feeling bloody fantastic. Tonnes of energy and seriously noticing some muscle developing. I have a InBody Scan this Sunday to track progress. Seriously excited but also super nervous as I have not stepped onto the scales since the first week. I am trusting the process!
So this week I thought I would give you an insight into the nutrition side of the challenge. I have done meal plans before but seriously struggled as certain foods or groups seemed to be completely restricted, and I found the same meat and greens got a little boring. Cue the F45 Challenge App.
I am going to let you in on a secret, you can download it for free too! It is full of great ideas on eating healthy, much better than your standard omelette, salad and meat and veg repertoire AND you can even eat carbs and bread. If you are looking for some meal prep ideas I highly recommend checking it out. Search for “F45 Challenge” in your app store of choice. You just need to set up a free account and you are on your way.
The nutrition plan is broken into 3 phases:
1 SPRING TRAINING – 2 weeks – Detox – Low carb, lots of greens, no coffee – rid body of toxins and fluid retention and start to eliminate cravings.
2 REGULAR SEASON – 4 weeks – Building lean muscle – think good fats, carbs and higher protein.
3 WORLD SERIES – 2 weeks – Getting lean – strip body fat and re-boost metabolism, lower carb.
Calories are set at around 1900 for men and 1300 for women. This may seem low but the good news is that the trainers and Ipswich Central also take the time to assess the individual and will tell you if you need to have additional protein shakes and/or lean meat in your daily diet. If you ever feel hungry too the plan encourages you to eat as many non-starchy vegetables as you like.
During the initial two week detox phase taking a break from coffee is encouraged. Initially I thought I was going to die (or someone may have been murdered), but it was actually easier than I thought (although I usually only have one a day as it can affect my sleep). Green tea and ginger tea is allowed during that initial phase which for me proved quite satisfying. For me I am not sure if my body actually craved a coffee or if it is more the ritual and routine of sitting down and enjoying a cuppa. I used to wake up and have a long black first thing in the morning and now I can’t even stomach one, green tea with a squeeze of lemon in the morning for me!
Eating at regular intervals was really important to curb cravings and hunger for me. I used to be the person that skipped breakfast, would be starving come morning tea so snack on something sweet, have lunch then again be starving come afternoon and binge on snack food. Since following the meal plan I have rarely craved junk food or chocolate at 3pm and this used to be a daily occurrence!
WATER, LEMON WATER AND HYDRATION
Another part of the challenge nutrition is to focus on drinking 2-3 litres of water a day and including lemon water. Amazingly the simple action of logging my water at the end of the day for point goals actually kept me accountable. If there was anytime I was hungry between meals or felt like something sweet, it was generally because I had a meal late or I had not been drinking enough water. Working in air conditioning I used to struggle to drink more than 1L of water then come home super thirsty. I am not sure if it is coincidence but by ensuring I have been hydrating properly my sugar cravings are gone and I have not had a headache since the start of the challenge!
HOW MUCH PROTEIN?
So some meal plans see you eating a TONNE of protein to the point of feeling ill. I have found the amounts recommended in the meals is really normal and manageable. Each meal is always balanced with loads of veggies too. At the moment it is about a 100g serve (for women) of lean meat at lunch or dinner with the addition of a protein shake as a snack when breakfast doesn’t include a protein source. Super easy!
OH THE VARIETY
The thing I am loving the most about the food is that there is so much variety. There are sweet options, savoury, bread, potatoes, red meat, fish, chocolate protein shakes, lemon coconut protein balls and so much more. Some of the recipes even recommend butter on your toast or in your sweet potato mash! WINNING!
Also if there is something you don’t like (or like me you haven’t gone shopping) you can swap it for something in the same week. The meals plans also encourage making bigger batch’s and having leftovers the next day which as a busy working Mum is amazing! The other great news is that the food is so good hubby and my 2 year old daughter are also enjoying it.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO WEIGH EVERYTHING!!
So sometimes on meals plans you have to weigh everything raw before cooking which makes it hard to make big batches and share. For me this used to add a lot of stress to trying to cook for the family all at once. The only thing generally that requires weighing is your protein, everything else is in cups, tablespoons etc which makes it super easy.
REAL LIFESTYLE CHANGE
I generally eat pretty healthy but for someone that doesn’t even know where to start this app and plan is a game changer! For me the ease of the plan is so damn refreshing, it gives you the shopping list for each week and you can even order your ingredients through the Ipswich Central studio who works with a company that delivers everything you need all portioned out!
Simply by making the meals each week you are learning about portion control and how to cook healthy rather than just relying on losing weight by drinking weightloss shakes – they may work short term but you haven’t learnt anything about how to eat health every day. It is about long term change by actually changing habits. The app also has nutrition tips which are really interesting with posts about cutting out sugar, natural sugar alternatives, the truth about coconut oil and much more!
That is it for another week. Wish me luck for Sunday.