F45 Challenge – Do As I Say, Not As I Do!

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As I’ve written here on a number of occasions, I adore the unique community cultivated at F45 St. Clair West. I’ve tried a couple of other F45 locations, and they just were not for me. I love having the space to move around unique to St. Clair West. The trainers there keep in touch 1 on 1 through Whatsapp and on Instagram. They genuinely care about your well-being and your loyalty to the community.

Some people say there’s a bit of a cult element to F45. Overall, I can see it, but there’s a fine line between the optics of that kind of encouragement and dedication demands. Once you’re involved, it’s just a party of people trying to live their best lives in health. I’ve made some greats friends, reconnected with some old ones, and have learned a lot about myself. In particular? I often go way harder than is necessary, and it’s not always a good idea.

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First and foremost, there’s something to be said for over-training: DON’T DO IT. Do as I say, not as I do, right? Before the F45 Challenge began, I had already been eating fairly well and making it to 3 – 4 F45 classes per week. At lunch, I usually hit up Goodlife with a colleague of mine who continuously chirps me for not having yet raced a 5 km. Add in the fact that I have been walking 4 km to work at least 3 times a week and you’ve got a case for chronically elevated cortisol levels.

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When your cortisol levels are too high, there are a variety of complications which can arise. Weight gain is what has effected me the most, but other symptoms include: high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis, exhaustion – effecting daily hormone cycles and disrupted sleep patterns, memory (ever felt like you were in a mental fog?), and infections due to compromised immune systems.

How to Combat High Cortisol Levels?

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Sleep and Cortisol Levels

This was a tough one for me considering I was living in a basement with totally inconsiderate neighbours and a rich landlord who took the “hands off” approach.  I even moved apartments losing out on over a thousand dollars when I cut my lease short. My F45 Challenge team coach would often reprimand me for not getting 8 hours of sleep. I took that really personally as I was climbing into bed around 8 PM in the hopes that I could get any sleep before getting up to exercise before work. I was killing myself, and that wasn’t enough for him. This was my biggest problem with the F45 Challenge because I was trying so hard and it never seemed to be enough.

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Exercise and Cortisol Levels

Double-edged sword, non? Exercise in moderation can lead to lower cortisol levels. Over-training runs the risk of affecting neurotransmitters such as glutamine, dopamine and 5-HTP. Ever wonder why the road to fit can throw your emotions through a loop? Over-training can lead to feelings of depression and chronic fatigue. Symptoms of hypothyroidism are also a side-effect of over-training, and I think they may have hit me hard throughout the F45 Challenge. Rest and recovery time need to be penciled into your schedule, just like exercise.

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Sugar and Cortisol Levels

Cutting down on your sugar intake should help balance your cortisol levels. I have such a sweet tooth. If I go a couple of days incorporating limited levels of natural sugars (fruit, for example), I find myself craving “real foods” (you know, the ones you get from shopping around the outside of the grocery store) so much more. I went out for a post-challenge celebration with a gal pal recently and we shared a bunch of tapas including: grilled halloumi (cheese), roasted squash, brussel sprouts, and a beet and goat cheese salad. It felt like I had just binged on fast food, but realistically it was all pretty healthy and within moderation for my day. Once you’re off processed sugar, something as simple as a beet tastes like heaven-on-Earth candy. Dwight Shrute may have been on to something…

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Cortisol Conclusions

Last week I went to the Philippines. I spent my days island-hopping, eating food I would neeeeever eat here in Canada (Filipino food is really greasy!), and enjoying cocktails liberally. I felt so puffy and bloated when I arrived home, but lo and behold – hadn’t gained a pound. It’s Friday today, and since Monday I’ve dropped 5 lbs. This is more than I had lost during the F45 Challenge.

I haven’t been stressed about scheduling a particular number of workouts throughout my week. Pizza has been on the menu not once, but twice. I’ve enjoyed a couple of spin classes and have focused on weights at the gym on my lunch break. If your workouts, or goals of a particular challenge, are consuming your entire life – take a step back. Take a night off and head out with your friends. Skip the morning workout and sleep in. It’s clichĂ©, but actually take a minute to stop and smell the roses and breathe in some fresh air. You might find some unlikely (and positive) results!

F45 Challenge Week 1 is done! – F45 St. Clair West

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You know when she wraps her hair up like a pineapple it's about to go down! . . Why, yes! I HAVE gained some weight since moving back to Canada from Korea (25 lbs overall, some of which I've actually lost). These certainly aren't the most flattering pictures, but I thank @krayzeefitness a) for being quite possibly the loudest cheerleader at @f45stclairwest and b) for taking them so that once my #f45challenge (an 8 week multi-point system dedicated to turbocharge progress through dedication to fitness AND diet) is complete I can look back and see how far I've come. My only regret? Not taking them back in December when this journey began! đŸ’Ș🍍 // #f45 . . . . . . . . . #f45training #girlswholift #lift #lifttillfailure #tabata #strong #strongwomen #weightlossjourney #weightlosstransformation #weightlifting #weightliftingfairykimbokjoo #FITNESS #플튞니슀 #휘튞니슀 #í—ŹìŠ€ #왞ꔭ읞 #cardio #toronto #yyz #yyzblogger #416 #workout #workoutmotivation #progress #progressnotperfection

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F45 Challenge Week 1

Week 1 of the F45 8-week Challenge started off with a bang!  Learning about the F45 Challenge 45-point system seemed daunting, but I made it through! I worked out both Saturday and Sunday and used that energy as fuel for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I had an event Thursday night and my Korean class Friday night, but I was back up and at ’em for “Hollywood” Saturday morning (crushing 700 calories before breakfast!)

F45 Food

As I mentioned, I’ve been getting my food delivered through a Toronto meal delivery service called SelFit Fresh Meals. Realistically, I’d rather cook the meals myself so they’re to my flavour preference (and so that they’re really, really fresh). That said, I’ve tried a few meal delivery services in Toronto and in Korea, and these meals pack a punch as far as flavour goes. I don’t really process fish/ seafood very well, so they send me the vegetarian meals (they have vegan too) in lieu when there’s a recipe that calls for tuna or salmon. Not having to think about what to eat makes this process a LOT easier. It almost evens out my commitment to no coffee (or caffeinated beverages) for the first 2 weeks!

F45 Feelings

The first week hasn’t been easy by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve limited myself to between 1,200 and 1,300 calories daily so that I have at least a 1,000 calorie deficit daily. I also cut out caffeine. By day 4, I was hungry, exhausted, menstruating, and dealing with some guy’s BS. I was beyond emotional. I was a total mess, to be candid. Friday the fog seemed to clear and I was back in the game mentally.  This week, my hope is to get into a lower weight category and actually see some of this work pay off.

The F45 Challenge 45-point Plan

The F45 Challenge follows a 45 point plan, where the target is to hit at least 30 (so on your rest days you’re supposed to hit all of the other points areas):
  • Exercise to Sweat 15 Points
  • Meals per meal plan 15 points
  • Magnesium supplement 2 Points
  • Lemon in Warm Water 2 Points
  • 2 – 3 L of water 6 Points
  • 8 Hours of Quality Sleep 5 Points

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Yesterday, I got to meet and celebrate a member of a not so secret tribe of women fed up and exhausted with the status quo and writing all about it. This absolutely darling party in @jordanquinnstagram's honour made me yell out on many occasions, "Guys, she wrote and published a book and it's in my hands RIGHT NOW!" Couldn't be happier for this fearless female and yes, she is just as quick witted, charming, and gorgeous in person. I'm so eager to see what's in store for @korkscrewed and very glad I got to bring my gals @deskotnala and @k8vbeast along for the ride (and the cocktails!). Congratulations, Jordan! 📚💋 // #sheisnotlost . . . . . . . #women #womeninspiringwomen #womensupportingwomen #toronto #yyz #yyzblogger #blogger #blog #doitforthegram #416 #the6ix #blondeshavemorefun #dametraveler #gltlove #girlslovetravel #whoruntheworld #beautybloggers #love #bumble #toronto_insta #torontolife #kingwest #traveltagged #imbibe #imbibegram

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Following F45

Did I follow the *no alcohol* rule to plan? Er – not quite, but I didn’t go to town getting late night eats so – win! I also don’t know anyone who really and truly gets 8 hours of quality sleep a night, but I’m making every effort to go to sleep early. Wearing my Fitbit to sleep, I average about 7.5 hours per night. Sadly, my neighbours consistently wake me up at insane hours of night, so it’s not ideal. The meal plan is included with the F45 Challenge, and I’ve been using SelFit Fresh Meals to keep me on the straight and narrow. The cost is about $140 per week for 10 meals. It’s not cheap, but it keeps me from buying snacks and meals which add up financially and calorically anyway. I’ve lost about 3 Kg since I first started the plan, and have another 19 kg to go to get to my ultimate goal weight (which won’t happen during the challenge – that would be too much, too quickly!)
Let me know all your tips and tricks to keep this challenge up in the comments!

Pumped-up Profile: F45 St. Clair West’s Welcoming Fitness Approach

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My weight has fluctuated most of my life. I’ve never had a very healthy relationship with food; either controlling my consumption obsessively or going to town on whatever’s available. Taking fitness seriously has been a successful, but solitary adventure up until this year. When I was in Korea, I didn’t take classes all that often because of the language barrier and because I didn’t feel like they were all that effective. The same goes for classes anywhere, in my experience – they just don’t burn as many calories (or so I thought).

This year I have ventured into various studios across the city in an attempt to meet people with whom I have common interests. If you’ve seen my instagram stories then you’ll know just how well Tinder has been going for me (spoiler alert: it’s a nightmare). Even just meeting new friends can be challenging. Most of my friends moved on without me, which one should expect having spent 3 years abroad. So – I like working out. Sometimes I think that I’m the fittest fat person in Toronto. That’s just it, though. My aesthetic isn’t what it once was. In Korea, I was thriving on 1,200 – 1,400 calories a day and working out an hour or two most days. I was only getting 4-5 hours of sleep a night managing 2 blogs in a competitive market while working 45 hours a week. Supercharged, I looked good and felt invincible. Now, I’m not the fit foreigner that gyms feature on their instagram. Hell, I’m not even featured on my partners’ feeds. I’m not quite so confident walking into a new workout environment.

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I’m falling in love with my gym. Earlier this year when I was solo travelling I did a value exercise and I recognized that ‘community’ and ‘connection’ were important to me and at that time, in SE Asia, by myself, with no plans, these were gaps and impacted my overall happiness. Over the past 3 weeks, I’ve made it for the F45 7:40am class 4 days a week. I’ve been raving to everyone I know about this gym and the people. In a conversation this week, I realized that F45 is both connection and community for me. I have never been a member of a gym or yoga studio where I’ve felt the connection and community I do here. The people here (staff and members) bring amazing energy… that is what creates this community… where we all get to know each other, we motivate and listen to each other (all while dying or recovering from a great workout). This is truly an amazing thing. #feelinggrateful #f45 #lovemycommunity @f45stclairwest @krayzeefitness @xuanfitness @a_yeunglegend

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Is F45 the New Starbucks?

A couple of months ago I noticed a new phenomenon in the city. Rather than Starbucks popping up on every corner, I was seeing people get their sweat on in every nook and cranny of downtown Toronto. These aren’t your grandmother’s zumba classes, though. Through steamy windows I was seeing people of all shapes and sizes crush workouts with kettle-bells, stationary bikes, rowers, and their own body weight. It looked all kinds of intimidating.

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#mood 😑 😄😁 . . 📾: @danherm3

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The F45 Community

The first time I walked into F45 at St. Clair West, the bubbly trainer asked me if it was my first time. I always advocate to communicate with your coach and get friendly with your teammates, but I felt apprehensive. As it was, she raised my hand way over my head and yelled that I was looking for new friends ’cause it was my first class. I wanted to crawl into a hole and die…until all my “new friends” cheered in a cascade of whoops and hollers and gave me high fives after my first Functional 45 workout. I’ve come to crave the knowing nod at the door, the coaches suggesting variations based on my lower back issues, and the encouragement from coaches and teammates alike making sure we finish the whole dang labyrinth of sets! The idea is for your body to burn the maximum number of calories in short spurts with a modest amount of recovery time in between (ie. running to the next station). One could say it’s similar to crossfit, but you’re not competing against others for the highest reps in shortest time, you’re competing against yourself and against previous goals.

The F45 Challenge

There are 17 days until the next F45 Challenge. This 45 point plan with its own separate app helps people achieve their fitness goals by kickstarting the process over the course of 8 weeks. 8 weeks from February 4, 2019 I’ll be on a beach in the Philippines. You had better bet your bottom dollar that I want the kind of results I’ve been seeing from the F45 Challenge! With daily meal plans, alternating various workouts focused on cardio and weights, and the support of the online and in house communities, I can’t wait to see my body change in healthy ways. Keep an eye out here for my meal prep, my workouts, and my results. I’m dancing with F45 St. Clair West now, but in 17 days it’s about to get real. I challenge you to take on the challenge with me!

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đŸ‘âŹ†ïžCan we just give a round of applause to some of these amazing F45 transformations from around the world👏 These were all done in 8 weeks❕❕ yes I said only 8 weeksđŸ˜±want to transform your body in 8 weeks⁉well you are in lucky because Apex we are coming for youđŸ”œđŸ‘ŠđŸ’„Contact us at westapex.admin@f45training.com to claim your two week free trial todayđŸ’„ – – – #f45 #f45fitness #f45challenge #f45family #carync #apexnc #hollysprings #apexfitness #caryfitness #raleigh #raleighfitness #motivation #fitnessmotivation #newyearnewyou #newyear #2019fitnessgoals #fitnessmemes #bootcamp #fitnessmodel #fitnesslife #fitnessfreaks

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Don’t you want results like these? I know I do! Let me know in the comments or on instagram if you’ll be joining me for this F45 Challenge (and if you’ll be coming to the F45 St. Clair West location in Toronto!)