What was your reason to start the challenge?
I have always been active in physical sports such as: AFL, water skiing, weights & triathlons, and have maintained fairly good physical shape, however I have never been able to achieve the lean & ripped look. This is largely due to the fact that I have formed the bad habit from a young age, of eating in excess of my body's actual needs. I can't wait to learn the secrets of good clean eating, as well as understand the key to the calorie deficit. Bring it on!
What did you like most about the challenge?
The best thing about the challenge was the structure, content & ease of use of the workout spreadsheet. Due to the Covid outbreak, most challenge participants were forced to work out from home & utilise whatever weight training gear we could get our hands on. In my case, I had a workout cage, bench, barbell & some dumbbells, but I have developed a new appreciation for the amazing bodyweight exercises, which really pushed me to my limits. The best part is that if I didn't have the equipment, then I could just swap out the exercises & watch Steve's youtube explanation videos...this was irreplaceable, as I was able to ensure that I maintained good form at all times and prevent injury. Another benefit of the challenge was the ongoing support, mentorship and general positive influence that the Facebook page provided. The regular contact and positive reinforcement during the Covid isolation ensured that all participants came together and motivated one another to success!
What was the hardest thing about your challenge?
For me, I found that the hardest thing about the challenge (Lean & Ripped - Advanced) was maintaining good form and increasing my weights, whilst my nutrition plan was designed for a calorie deficit. I found that my energy levels were depleted and I could not lift the heavy weights that I was previously used to. Irrespective, my aim was to stick to the lean & ripped plan & see the program through. Now I realise that the benefits are truly amazing and life-changing!
What impact has the challenge had on your life?
The Challenge has flipped my previous weight training knowledge on its head (for the better), as I was previously stuck in the rut of doing mostly upper body exercises (every day is chest day right!), and always lifting predominantly HEAVY weights. Now I have a new respect & appreciation for body weight exercises, leg workouts and circuit training. I have slogged it out in the gym on & off for over 20 years and rarely changed my body weight by more than 2kgs, whilst just looking bulky with almost zero definition. Now in just 12 weeks, I have lost in excess of 12kgs and I have discovered part of a six pack that I never knew existed. Further, I have learned that my love of good food, doesn't mean that I should consume 2x servings for dinner and assume that I can get away with it. I have always eaten good, clean food, but my quantities have been twice what my body has required....comfort eating perhaps! Now, I have reduced my food intake (per the nutrition plan), drink lots more water and I find that my body doesn't have the cravings that it used to. So yeah, this challenge has been life changing, and now I hope to retain and build some good lean muscle and to also motivate my friends and family to take up the challenge!
What would you say to people who are thinking of doing the challenge?
I would strongly encourage everyone to test themselves and perhaps prioritise their health and the health of their wider community by taking the lead, biting the bullet and just giving it a go.....because as you will see from all of the amazing participant photos...you have got nothing to lose and everything to benefit from. Don't be stagnant, get off the couch and watch in amazement as your body transforms and your health knowledge develops for the better. It's not hard, as long as it becomes a lifestyle choice and not just a fad! Just do it!
Anything else you would like to tell us about the challenge?
I would just like to thank the amazing Max's Challenge team, coach Steve and the greater challenge community for their terrific support, motivation and guidance throughout the challenge process. Also, my awesome mentor Mark Lees deserves a special thank you for his regular check in sessions and ideas, which helped to keep me focused and on track throughout the 12 weeks. Keep up the good work team and I look forward to joining in and supporting many more challenges for many years to come!