Welcome to Challenge Phase 3: Championship Round

Now that you’ve gained the core foundation for establishing a healthy eating routine in Phase 1 and 2, it’s time to get focused and bring your A game in Challenge Phase 3; Championship Round! 

This next 10 day phase is all about prioritizing health and recovery. As we approach the halfway mark of the Challenge, it’s not uncommon to feel a little more fatigued than usual or even experience muscle soreness. When we start to push past our comfort zones, our body has to adapt to new training and eating habits. 

During this phase, it’s essential to listen to your body and prioritize recovery so you can continue to maintain your highest level of training during each Challenge workout. Just as athletes have to push through hard bouts of training to see performance progress, we have to stick to our routine and keep preserving through feelings of fatigue in order to see positive change in body composition. If we don’t prioritize recovery through quality sleep, post-workout nutrition, and stretching, it’s easy to become increasingly more fatigued which limits our motivation and effort that we’re able to give during each workout. 

Now that you’ve developed a solid healthy eating routine we’re diving into all things recovery including tips on 1) pre and post workout nutrition 2) post-workout stretching and 3) boosting your immune system. 

F45 HQ wants to help you reach your highest potential during Challenge which is why we’ve outlined the key components below for maximizing training recovery. Incorporating these strategies into your daily routine will not only benefit workout performance but will help you recover faster, stay healthy, avoid training plateaus, and lessen the impact of muscle soreness. 

Be sure to check out the F45 Challenge portal for more recovery resources including pre and post workout nutrition and effective post-workout stretching routines. 

Pre and Post Workout Nutrition 

Optimal pre-workout snacks are about 150-250 calories and contain energy-boosting carbohydrates in combination with a small amount of protein (10 to 20g). F45 Nutritionist Kim Bowman recommends a fruit smoothie– Mixed Berry Protein Shake about 30-60 minutes before a workout that combines frozen berries, almond milk, and F45 Fuel Vanilla protein powder. Not only is this an excellent combination of carbohydrates (berries) but also incorporates protein (F45 Fuel) to support recovery. Smoothies are a great choice to have within an hour of your workout because they provide an instant source of energy. The blending process lessens the time needed for digestion to provide an immediate fuel source for your muscles as opposed to a larger meal which can slow digestion and make you feel sluggish. 

When it comes to fueling up after a workout, protein is key to have within 60-90 minutes of completing your workout. After exerting yourself during an intense session, protein provides an immediate source of essential amino acids to help repair and rebuild muscle tissue. This is key for promoting the development of lean muscle tissue for greater fat burning capability. The F45 Challenge recipe portal houses a number of protein-rich snack ideas to maximize post-workout recovery including our F45 Nutty Date Health Balls or Peanut Blueberry Protein Shake

Protein and carbohydrates are essential macronutrients that our body requires for muscle recovery to lessen the impact of muscle soreness in addition to maximizing positive physiological changes to body composition. 

Post-Workout Stretching 

During hard training sessions, muscles go through many contractions which can leave them in a shortened state and induce feelings of muscle soreness. Stretching after a workout is essential to lessen the impact of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) that often occurs when performing new types of training (resistance exercises) and engage muscles that we don’t typically use during activities of daily living. Additionally, when we become increasingly more fatigued or sore we can sacrifice training technique which can put us at a greater risk for injury. 

Incorporating a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes of stretching after a workout can reduce muscle tension and improve flexibility to reduce the risk of injury. Stretching helps our body regain equilibrium after putting it through stress by bringing oxygenated blood back to the muscles to help them recover. A post-workout stretch session can vary depending on if the focus was lower body, upper body or full body. Aim to hold each stretch for about 30 to 60 seconds each. 

Staying Healthy with these Immune System Boosters

As we near the halfway mark of Challenge, staying healthy and hydrated is key to avoiding training plateaus. Heavy training exerts a great deal of stress on our immune system which can lead to fatigue or sickness without adequate recovery. Aside from pre and post workout nutrition, making quality daily food choices will ensure our body gets essential micronutrients to support our health including antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. We also experience significant fluid loss through sweat while we train which increases the turnover of vitamins and minerals. Hydrating post-workout with a minimum of 8-16oz (240-480ml) of water is essential to replenish lost fluids as well as electrolytes (Ie. sodium, potassium) which ensure we replenish essential minerals required for optimal fluid balance. These need to be replenished in order to continue to train at a high intensity and recover efficiently. For more information on hydration, electrolytes, and how to optimize immune health check out these articles in the Challenge Portal: 

Micronutrients: What They Are and the Types We Need to Support Our Training

All About Electrolytes: What You Need to Know for Staying Hydrated in the Heat

All You Need to Know: How a Healthy Gut Boosts the Immune System