Boxing Blog

    Breaking down the Challenge: What’s Changed and How!

    Hey Team,

    Thanks heaps to everyone who has gotten along to the gym so far this year – and particularly over this holiday weekend.  So far in January we are averaging just over 200 people per day in the gym – which, when you consider the number of holidays and days with restricted gym hours we have had, is simply incredible.  We are on a pretty impressive ‘streak’ of attendance in fact – with only 3x months in the past 36 having a lower attendance than the same month in the preceding year (so comparing January 2020 with January 2019 for example).  Those months were Feb 2019 where the gym was hit by the ‘super-bug’ that wiped out so many people with gastro, June 2019 where attendance was 99.2% of June 2018 and December 2019 which was 99.7% of the preceding year.  The support we continue to get from you is very gratifying and appreciated.

    It’s CHALLENGE TIME.  I love all of the challenges (of course) but this one has a special place in my heart.  I have told the story about watching the movie and wanting to create a challenge that ran for 28-days with idea of making ‘as much change as possible’ in that time.  The challenge has evolved incredibly since that first one back in 2015 – the ‘packs’ back then had two pages…one detailed the ‘rules’ and the challenges, the other was the sign-off sheet for your classes.  Today?  It is a 46-page booklet with more than 70-recipes…it really is pretty cool these days.

    I know for a lot of long-term Round 1 members, the challenges can get a little bit ‘ho-hum, done it before, know what to do, not going to bother…’.  I get it.  Kinda.  For myself though, I see it a bit differently – and I have participated in ALL of the challenges since we kicked off the first one way (way) back in October 2010.  Here are the reasons why I love them:

    It gives me a food and training RESET.

    Sure, I train all the time.  And I eat ‘pretty well’ all of the time.  But as time goes by, more (and more) bad habits start creeping into my life.  I start having a casual beer on a Sunday avo…to go with the ones from Friday and Saturday night.  I still do my classes in the gym, but I don’t do any more than that…I wouldn’t say I do the ‘bare minimum’, but…I guess you know what I mean.  The challenge RESETs my MIND and my ACTIONS and gets me back in the game – eating (REALLY) well, training hard…it’s GOOD FOR ME.

    It connects me to the gym community.

    Training with ‘your people’ is great.  But we all sort of train with ‘our own’ people at the gym.  If you have ever shown up to train at a ‘different’ time to your usual – you know, a 5am person arriving for a 4pm session – you will know that things feel a bit ‘off’ somehow.  Everything is ‘same, same…but different’ (which kind of makes me think of Jules and Vincent talking about how things are ‘different’ in Amsterdam in Pulp Fiction) and you never feel completely comfortable.  The challenge ‘cuts through’ that – everyone is suffering through the extras, everyone is battling to find the ‘one place’ that has Sugar-free bacon (it’s Scarfos in case you are wondering), everyone is in it together…the challenge gives us CONNECTION.

    Umm…about that [insert food issue here] habit!

    The challenge brings you back to diet base principles.  As I noted above, it gives a reset – but more than that, it brings to the fore the ‘stuff’ you don’t even KNOW you are doing (well, unless you are keeping a strict food diary).  Whether it’s the blueberry muffin at morning tea, the biscuit from the cookie jar post-lunch (let’s not kid ourselves…biscuitSSSS) or the hot chocolate after dinner, the challenge shows you exactly where the mistakes are being made.

    It reminds me that everyone is battling ‘something’…and every battle is different.

    The challenge is an amazing leveller.  What some people find easy – maybe giving up chocolate? – others find a battle.  But everyone is finding some stuff easy and everyone is struggling with something and it is amazing how the challenge brings this out.  It is incredible how you the challenge reveals weak points…and it is incredible how often the solutions to every problem have already been found by other people doing the challenge…and how willing they are to share!

    Breaking it Down

    The challenge rules are the rules but the ‘new stuff’ (aka the stuff that has taken me all the time to put together) can really be summarised as follows:

    Food Quantities

    Challenges (aka extras)

    In addition to the above (and I will talk more about them below), I have also reworked the ‘survival guide’, included a monthly planner that you can stick on the fridge with details of everything you are planning to do (and when) and massively ramped up the recipes from 30 to more than 70.  There are some new ones, some old favourites…and I have tried to ‘sectionalise’ them to allow for personal preferences (so for breakfasts, the categories are ‘Oats’, ‘Eggs’ and ‘Pancakes and other stuff’) to make it easier to find EXACTLY what you want.

    With the food quantities, we obviously had Megan from Hardy Nutrition out at Round 1 during 2019 to talk about creating a daily menu using ‘standard’/’recommended’ servings of each food ‘type’…so rather than putting together a simple ‘per meal quantity guide’ which said how much meat to each as we have in previous years, this time it is a bit different.  I guess I am perpetually frustrated when people work their butts off in the gym but don’t achieve the body composition changes they are after…and yep, I know that a lot of this falls into the simple “boys eat too much, girls don’t eat enough” cliché, but the problem is that the boys and girls from the cliché don’t know what ‘enough’ is!!!

    So, this year the challenge tries to help by ‘breaking it all down’ into HOW MANY serves “per day” you should be having from each food group.  It isn’t that complicated but it IS something that needs to be understood AND tracked if you want the best outcomes:


      Vegies Fruit Meat Dairy Grains
    Girls 5 2 2.5 2.5 6
    Boys 6 2 3 2.5 6


    Note:  The ‘food servings’ table also allows for 3x ‘Discretionary’ serves of food per day that you can take from ‘ANY’ category!

    Of course, this isn’t really that helpful unless you know how much a “SERVE” actually is…and of course, a “SERVE” of veggies and a “SERVE” of meat are not the same…which I agree is confusing…but still, the table below tells you ‘how much’ food goes into a serve of ‘EACH’ food group.


      1 “SERVE” Equals…
    Vegies 1 Cup ‘RAW’ or ½ Cup ‘COOKED’ Vegetables
    Fruit 1 MEDIUM Apple/Banana/Pear or 2x Small apricots/plums etc
    Meat 65g COOKED Red Meat / 80g COOKED Chicken / 100g Cooked FISH
    Dairy 1 Cup of Milk / 40g (2 slices) cheese / 200g yoghurt
    Grains ½ Cup cooked oats or rice (or quinoa, or polenta etc)


    You should definitely check out the Nutrition Australia resource sheets for all of this as part of getting your challenge planning underway!

    On to the Challenge ‘EXTRAS’, there are 5x extra workouts (challenge workouts) in 28-days-later 2020.  Each of them have Performance and Fitness options, all are suitable for Boxing AND Functional people…I know I always say this but I am super excited by what we have for you this time.  The ‘SPARTAN Kettlebell’ challenge is a new concept and something we have never really tried before, the November Challenge is a ‘Back to the Future’ type body blast, ‘Hi-Lo’ and ‘This Sucks’ are the typical ‘cardio-strength-cardio-strength’ mash-ups that are typical of the challenge extras we usually put together…and ‘AllZeeABS’ is a super awesome abs-blast with some new exercises for people on the performance track who really want to challenge themselves:

    Here they are:

    Spartan Kettlebell Challenge:

    November Challenge:

    Hi-Lo Challenge:

    This Sucks Challenge:

    AllZeeAbs Challenge:

    I am pretty keen to get an ‘early jump’ on the challenge and Vanessa and I have been talking about kicking off our challenge on Tuesday Jan 28th…it’s only an extra 3-days (ONLY?  Right!!) but it isn’t like we haven’t had an ‘EXTRA’ 3 (right…only 3!) cheat days over the Christmas/New Year period (which now goes all the way through to Australia Day in our house at least!).

    Anyway, that’s the 2020 28-Days-Later Challenge.  Sign-up HERE:

    See you in the gym,




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