All About Challenge Phases
The F45 Challenge is broken up into various phases. The 6-week Challenge has 3 phases and the 8 week Challenge has 4 phases. Each has a different theme and health focus to help keep you accountable and on track with your goals.
Challenge Phase 1
Challenge Phase 1 is all about establishing healthy lifestyle habits to create a quality foundation for maximum performance. Just as pro athletes need to get ready for an upcoming season, Phase 1 is designed to teach you the basics of establishing a healthy routine. This includes eliminating external lifestyle factors that aren’t beneficial to your long-term progress and performance. Mastering routine and developing healthy daily habits will not only ensure you’re able to sustain a high-level of training, but will also give you an upper hand when it comes to pushing yourself out of comfort zones. While it’s easy to think that all-out training is the quickest way to progress, successful performance is built upon a solid foundation of healthy habits that supplement high-intensity training. When we’re sleep-deprived or lack a quality eating routine, it’s extremely difficult for our body to adapt to increases in training load. Without healthy lifestyle habits, we can risk both mental and physical exhaustion, thus limiting our progress within each Challenge. On the flipside, when we’re well-rested and provide our body with nutritious pre- and post-workout fuel, it becomes significantly easier to push ourselves on a regular basis. Check out these five core building blocks for establishing a healthy lifestyle foundation to get geared up in Phase 1.
Phase 1 Building Blocks:
- Determining Goal-Specific Total Daily Calorie Intake: Once you’ve set your Challenge goal (build lean muscle, fat loss, general health), be sure to utilize the Challenge App ‘BMR Calculator’ to first determine your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), or the amount of calories your body burns at rest. From here, you’ll enter your activity level and goal to determine your recommended total daily calorie intake suited to your goal (ex. 1600 calories).
- Choosing Your Challenge Meal Plan: There are three core Challenge meal plans—Mainstream, Vegan, and Vegetarian—of which you can choose either a Cook-At-Home option or a meal delivery option. All Challenge meals are developed by our F45 Nutrition team and backed by science to ensure you’re fueled up with the proper nutrients, vitamins, and minerals your body requires to maximize performance.
- Quality Sleep: The importance of sleep quality and duration are critical throughout the entire Challenge to allow training adaptations to occur. You can access more info about how sleep can impact training and recovery, along with strategies for better sleep, on the Challenge blog: 4 Tips for Stress-Free Sleep: Why is Sleep so Important for Training Adaptations?
- Hydration: Adequate hydration is essential throughout the Challenge to maximize both physical and mental performance. Challenge training sessions include bouts of high-intensity intervals, which means you’re likely to experience rapid loss of fluids from sweat loss. Rehydrating during and post-workout is key for replenishing lost fluids to avoid dehydration. It is also critical to hydrate with water regularly throughout the day (approx 2-3L or approx 8 to 9 glasses of water). This is especially important first thing in the morning (16-fl.oz or 500ml) to support fat loss through whole-body detoxification.
Phase 2: Regular Season
Now that core healthy lifestyle habits have been established in Challenge Phase 1, the focus of Phase 2 is on quality macronutrient consumption for sustainable training progress. This means being able to recognize and select foods that haven’t undergone any processing on a consistent basis. A balanced healthy eating routine is built upon quality food consumption, portion control, and meal timing. Together, these three core components are necessary for keeping blood sugars balanced, avoiding cravings, and providing sufficient pre- and post-workout fuel to nourish the body. It’s especially important to gain an understanding of how macronutrients differ in their role within the body, as well as how to differentiate between high quality vs. poor quality macronutrients. Processed foods, for example, are extremely energy-dense (high-calorie) but contain little to no dietary fiber, amino acids, antioxidants, minerals, or vitamins. They are ‘empty calories,’ offering little to no nutritional value to support training adaptations and changes in body composition. On the flipside, quality sources of protein, carbs, and fats will provide the necessary fuel the body requires to train effectively and recover efficiently. Here’s a recent article highlighting the role of macronutrients within the body: “All About Macros.”
Challenge Phase 3
Now that the importance of quality nutrition and lifestyle factors has been emphasized, Phase 3 aims to shift focus towards the importance of micronutrients for optimal performance and recovery. With a solid foundation of quality food consumption and a healthy daily routine, to maximize Challenge performance, it’s necessary to stay healthy by keeping your immune system working efficiently. Phase 3 Challenge sessions will push the body out of a comfort zone for physiological changes and adaptation (muscle development, fat loss). However, in order to stay consistent and sustain a high level of training and mental focus, recovery nutrition is essential. The Challenge blog has a number of blogs that highlight the importance of nourishing the body post-workout, along with why vitamins and minerals are critical for training recovery. Additionally, when it comes to staying healthy through periods of heavy workload, maintaining a healthy gut is key for ensuring the immune system is functioning at its best so you can continue to power through each Challenge session. For info about gut health and micronutrients, check out this blog: Micronutrients: “What They Are and the Types We Need to Support Our Training.”
Challenge Phase 4
The final Challenge phase, Phase 4, is exclusive to the 8-Week Challenge. This phase is about translating all themes and core concepts from each phase and actively applying them to everyday life—including training, nutrition, wellness, and goal-tracking. This phase aims to create sustainable lifestyle habits that not only allow you to maintain your peak goal, but also to see transformative results long after finishing the current Challenge. This phase not only allows you to showcase your learnings from phase 1 to 3 but it also acts as a period of self-reflection. During this phase we recommended utilizing the Challenge App tracking system so you can assess your progress, reflect on accomplishments, and set new goals for your next F45 Challenge. You can download the Challenge App and start using the point tracking system here: F45 Challenge App.