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!)
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!
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 Challengefollows 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):
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!
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 forclassesanywhere, 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.
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.
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!
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!)
I’ve come to understand that fitness will always be a journey for me. I will always have ups and downs and times of amazing confidence or, like now, times where I just don’t feel like I’m at my peak. There are a gazillion reasons to get close to the person (or people, in my case) helping you on your fitness journey. When I started with Big Hit Kickboxing Studios, I was in pretty peak physical condition for my own standards. Beyond the obvious attention to my new additions, there wasn’t anything I was afraid to do nor was there much that could knock the wind out of me. Now that I’m well into my re-patriation, I’m not as confident or fearless. Plus I’m certainly not in the best shape anymore. I do, however, have help – and I want to encourage you to seek out allies on your fitness journey as well.
If it’s your first time walking into a gym or walking into the ring, letting someone know you’re new isn’t embarrassing – it’s essential. More often than not, it’s expected that you’ll jump into a class and go with the flow. If your coach knows that it’s your first (or second, or even third time) they’ll make sure to give you that little extra bit of attention to ensure your technique is just right so you won’t get hurt. You may have signed a waiver before your class, but you’re part of the team now and nobody wants to see you injured!
Speaking of injuries, if you’re just getting back to fitness you have to let your coach know. Hopefully you’ve given your body enough time to heal, but you might be a little rusty getting back in the game. I find a lot of coaches want to push you right to your limit. When I had my surgery anything chest related (from push-ups to lat pull-downs) was not on the menu. If your coach is aware of your limits, he or she will be more likely to give you an alternative motion to complete.
Hesitation is one of the most common causes of injury in sports and physical fitness. In an instance where your timing is off because of jitters you could really hurt yourself. Taking a step back and asking for help will sharpen your focus and take you out of a fog of confusion which could cause an injury or give you an ineffective workout (be it once or as a pattern).
If you commit yourself to the community at your gym/ studio (or create one – especially if it involves Tanya Kim – duh!) then there will be a give and take with your workouts. When your coach knows you, he or she will be able to tell when you need to get out of your funk, or even if you need to be left alone. Sometimes when I’m at Big Hit, my instructor will get out the pads and work with people one on one. My energy is revved up to the max. I feel like I’m actually good at what we’re working on and I’m being rewarded for good work. On the flip side, when I’m not giving it my all you know nobody’s bringing those pads my way!
You may not be best friends with your coach/ yogi/ mentor/ instructor, but there’s a level of unspoken but always shown respect and discipline between the student and the master. Showing a little interest and a lot of initiative goes a long way. As it says on the wall of every Big Hit, “in 2 weeks you’ll feel it, in 4 weeks you’ll see it, in 8 weeks you’ll be it”.
I’ve mentioned Big Hit Kickboxing Studios a few times over the course of this article (and shared some pictures of some, not all, of my favourite coaches) because I’ve committed to a 3-month partnership with them to get back into fit fighting shape! For more Toronto Gym Alternatives, click here. For more on Big Hit:
Time Commitment: 30 – 60 Minutes (most classes are 45 Minutes)
Cost: $30/ Drop-in Class, packages vary, and $59 gets you gloves, wraps, and 2 weeks of unlimited classes!
Buckle your seat belts and take out your chips and salsa, ’cause it’s about to get real cheesy up in hurr. If you follow The Toronto Seoulcialite (my other “less sarcastic” blog), you’ll have read about my issues finding a job, finding a man, and finding my figure through the mess of moving back to Canada. I’ve finally found something which could be the makings of a career, and a date with myself 3 times a week which gives me structure and an outlet. Coming back home is like picking up an old, ear-marked book. The characters are the same and the setting hasn’t changed, but you’re still not exactly sure what will happen to the protagonist next.
Someone Else’s Story
My biggest fear returning to Toronto was that I would be reliving the same old story. While I was away, several of my friends partnered up, a couple had kids, many got promotions, some went back to school, and my nightmare boss was finally arrested. Beyond that? A lot of the people I’ve left are ear-marked – frozen in time right where I left them doing the same old things and just banging their heads against the wall calling it happiness. I knew I wasn’t happy back in 2014 when I made the decision to begin the arduous application (okay – it was long, but not that tough) to move to Korea. I couldn’t come home and return to old habits.
Die Hard: With a Vengeance
Old habits die hard. I ended up moving back to Queen St. West and was working in the events industry when, at last, I found work. Getting into a rhythm took time, and my physical and emotional health took a hit. I decided to hit back. I bought myself a 2 week unlimited introductory pass at Big Hit Kickboxing Studios. At that time, I was living with a disrespectful roommate who was a neglectful pet owner. I had no autonomy in my own life. Looking back, I think that I was committed to my 2 week membership, but not so much to myself.
Be Your Own Boss (Without Working for Yourself)
I once read that you should treat yourself like the CEO of your own life, and that fitness was a meeting you set with your employees. Good bosses don’t reschedule again and again. I wasn’t managing my life properly, nor was I being a good boss to my mental and physical health. At this point I needed to hit back, but not just for 2 weeks. Big Hit Kickboxing Studios in Toronto has given me the schedule I need to succeed.
Be a Good Boss
Proper preparation prevents poor performance. I’ve set meetings with my very important sanity at least 3 times a week, which is honestly pretty manageable! After work on weekdays I leave the office between 5 PM and 5:30 PM (I know – my job offers work/ life balance <3) and walk for about 35 – 40 minutes from the office to Big Hit Kickboxing Queen West. The walk enables me to just zone out and enjoy constant, steady movement while listening to music. The workout to follow is full of different combinations which challenge my mind and various muscle groups. Over the next 3 months I’ll be sharing my highs, lows, pounds, and measurements. Stay tuned for preparation and progress, not perfection.
Since getting back on a regular schedule with Big Hit Kickboxing Studios, I haven’t actually lost any weight, but the rest of my body and my life has changed pretty drastically. My clothes have started to feel different – better. I don’t crave sweets like I did throughout my unsettled period between my old job and old apartment and now. I have been on several dates with not one, not two, but 3 different men who actually want to see me again.
When you start physical activity with dedication, dedication spreads throughout your life in different ways. My posture exudes confidence rather than that fear of failure with which I started. I’m back to caring about a connection rather than having a fear that I won’t be liked (word to the wise – fear of someone not liking you crushes a connection right off the start). I don’t really have time for people who aren’t adding to my life in a positive way, so when I make time to see my friends we’re connecting on a much deeper and more enjoyable level. I also always seem to come back to that old adage: “You can do naked back-flips across his lawn, but if you’re not the one he wants, honey, you’re just not the one he wants”.
Strength, determination, and hope fill the pages of my novel. I know what comes next in that old, worn out, dog-eared story because I’m writing it now.