Are fitness challenges a marketing gimmick or key to transforming your life?


We’re reaching our freedom and we’re being bombarded with messages about kickstarting our fitness journeys. But do you want to launch yourself into a fitness challenge? Head of F45 Challenge Kat Hegarty explains.  

Endless months of lockdowns and closed gyms have meant we’ve resorted to sweating it out on the very same living room floor we binge Netflix on each night, guided by the motivational, yet slightly draining voice of a YouTube workout instructor.

Among the home workout genre that we are all too familiar with, there have been a vast array of fitness challenges emerging out of social media. These so-called “transformative challenges” involve signing yourself up for anything from a daily one-minute plank for 30 days, squatting until you look like Kim Kardashian, or cutting out carbs, sugar and anything else in your pantry altogether. Sound familiar? With so many of these flooding our screens, it’s becoming harder to discern which challenges truly have your fitness goals in their best interest, and which are trying to make some moolah off you.

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On the one hand, we recognise some fitness challenges can be promoting unrealistic goals, often encouraging overtraining and undereating, catching users in a marketing trap to boost a brand or a page’s following. On the other hand, there is also a weight of evidence to suggest fitness challenges are the ticket to overhauling your fitness regime and getting the kick out of life you’ve been searching for all this time. Kat Hegarty, Head of F45 Challenge, shares her key insights into why fitness challenges might just be your new best friend.

Honesty is the best policy, so we’ll start by saying that fitness challenges by no means produce the same results for everyone, nor are they going to solve all your life problems, or give you your dream body at the click of a finger.

What they are going to do however, is give you a few significant takeaways:

A sense of purpose

Picture this: we’re coming out of lockdown, your workout routine has consisted of a million walks around the very same block, summer is rapidly approaching, and you’re looking for a bit of a boost to kickstart your routine. Fitness challenges and the structure they bring that we have all been lacking due to ‘rona will help guide you in creating a better, stronger and happier version of you as we bring in the new year (fingers crossed it’s no repeat of this year, but I think we said that last year, didn’t we?).

If you haven’t considered joining F45 before, all studios launched a 45-day challenge back in 2014 which operate each season, involving daily workouts and meal plans to help you reach your fitness goals – whether you’re looking to lose those extra lockdown kg’s, improve your fitness and strength, or just feel like a better human overall. The meal plans are customised to each individual’s calorie requirement based on their challenge goal, and our unique app tracking system keeps members accountable as they view their success each step of the way.

One of the best things about it, and what sets it apart from other challenges, is that it does not solely focus on the dreaded phrase for many: weight loss. Instead, it also factors in body fat percentage and muscle gain, which are actually far better indicators of measuring your fitness progress. The team mentality at F45 Training helps members transform their lifestyle physically and mentally, while encouraging community growth, performing at your best, and a no-ego attitude (sorry Alpha males).

Goals

Fitness challenges are one of the best ways to ground yourself by creating achievable, specific and measurable goals. If it’s your first bit of fitness after coming out of lockdown, we don’t expect to see people moving mountains to reach unrealistic goals. Instead, why not set yourself small, but meaningful ones, like losing 3kgs from those Friday takeaway nights you’ve become all too comfortable with, or even being able to get through an entire class without taking a breather (it’s harder than you think when pull-ups are on the menu).

Long-term habits

Experts say it takes 3–4 weeks to get into a routine and notice results. The F45 Challenge is six weeks, so you’ll be just starting to find your groove before the instructor calls the timer. But don’t fret, as it’s far from over. After completing an accredited challenge, you gain a wealth of knowledge about how your body moves, what its limits are, what a healthy diet and exercise routine looks like, and most importantly, how insanely good you feel when you have something to work towards and start seeing results. These tips and tricks will stick with you long after the challenge, and may even inspire you to complete another, aaaand another.

BYO bestie

F45 is all about fostering a big sweaty community, and let’s face it – would you rather do burpees alone, or with your best mate? After the lonely and socially-deprived times we’ve faced over the last 18 months, the challenge is an ideal way to tick off your morning exercise, get into shape for #hotgirlsummer, and join a family of like-minded push-up enthusiasts. There will be elbow-bumps all round, we promise.

Finally, it’s important to remember that patience is key. If you don’t look like a supermodel after one session, you haven’t done anything wrong. What lies at the forefront of F45’s workout model is not looking good, it is feeling good and helping you to achieve the very best ‘you’, which is different for everyone. So, if you’re wanting to invest your time into a fitness challenge but aren’t quite sure which one to choose, consider yourself fully-informed. You can thank us later.

F45 Challenge 34 kicks off 25 October and runs until 8 December. Join team captains, Morgan Mitchell or Johry Batt while raising money for global charities Movember and Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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