We are so proud of all the hard work and dedication you've put into these past few weeks, pushing yourself through each workout and showing up for yourself day after day.
The road here hasn’t been easy, so don’t forget to take some time to celebrate yourself and all your accomplishments, both the physical and mental changes, and all your wins, no matter how big and small.
It’s so important to recognise that although your Challenge is complete, the journey itself is so much more than just an 8 week commitment.
All of the routines and education you’ve experienced throughout your Challenge were to help you establish a positive mindset and sustainable habits that you can carry into your daily lifestyle moving forwards.
The lessons you walk away with will flow into every aspect of your life, in the way you show up for yourself and others in your personal relationships, your career, and passion projects.
So where to from here? Can you be more relaxed with your training regime? Do you continue with the same Meal Guide?
Whether you're planning to complete another Program with us or are looking to try something different, there are a few key things to consider.
What calories and macros to continue with after your Challenge largely depends on your overall goal, and whether that goal has now changed.
Here are a few common scenarios and our guidelines on what to do if you’re in a similar situation.
If fat loss has been your goal
If you have been in a calorie deficit for a while and feel a bit depleted, or are noticing you’ve hit a bit of a plateau with results, it may be a good idea to gradually increase your calorie intake to bring it closer to maintenance. This is known as ‘reverse dieting’ which will give you a break from dieting and boost your progress in the long run.
If your new goal is to transition into a calorie surplus to start a building phase - just keep gradually following the reverse dieting approach until you reach your “sweet spot” and find a calorie surplus that’s both comfortable and effective.
Another option you can try is introducing “refeed days” into your routine by picking 1-2 days a week and upping your calories by 20-30%, primarily through increasing carbs. You can increase your fats too if desired, however, there's no need to up your protein as your intake is already sufficient.
- If you’re feeling comfortable in your current calorie deficit and are still seeing amazing progress, you don’t necessarily need to implement any changes just yet unless you want to. This is also true if you’re in a mild deficit that’s working really well for your goals and is comfortable to adhere to.
If muscle gain has been your goal
If you want to continue your building phase, consider the targets you’ve been given throughout the Challenge. Have we increased your calories gradually? By how much? How did your body respond? By noticing these patterns, you will be able to put together an action plan for the post-Challenge period.
If you're happy with the muscle gain progress you've made and feel like it’s time to start a cutting phase to shred fat, you should gradually lower your calories. We recommend lowering by 50-200 calorie increments at a time (depending on how much of a surplus you’ve been on, as well as what feels comfortable) until you reach your sustainable level of a calorie deficit. Give yourself ample time to adjust to each intake change, and don’t rush it - otherwise you’re likely to feel extremely uncomfortable and likely hungry. We don’t recommend ever going below 1400 calories, or into a larger deficit than 700 kcal from your maintenance - whatever’s the highest of those two values.
If your goal has changed, you can update your goal any time in the MWU App to automatically adjust your nutrition targets.
Simply click on your profile picture to locate the My Macros feature.
When going through the Update My Macros questionnaire, your current goal will be pre-selected for your convenience. Simply select a different goal, and your macros will be recalculated accordingly.
You can further fine-tune this target by going through the feature questionnaire again, leaving the goal intact and then indicating whether the current amount of food is not enough or too much for you, in the next question.
If your calories are already a bit too low based on the information provided, we may not be able to decrease them further for your safety.
If you make any mistakes, you can reset to your most recent MWU-recommended targets by using the Reset button.
And of course, if anything at all doesn't feel right or you have any questions, we are always just an email away at firstname.lastname@example.org
The bottom line
In any case and whatever your goal is, we encourage you to aim for the approach of the 80/20 rule, which means picking nutritious foods 80% of the time while still enjoying 20% soul foods.
We are big believers in flexible dieting, as it provides freedom to enjoy the foods you love while keeping you on track to reach your desired results. You don't have to sacrifice any of your favourite foods on the journey to achieving your goals.
Don’t underestimate the intensity you’ve just put your body through, following a consistent training routine for 6+ weeks is a serious commitment.
You might be on a roll, feeling energised and are keen to push for a few more weeks with your current routine, or perhaps your body might be asking for a break. It’s so important to check in with how your body is feeling right now.
There are several ways you can approach your exercise routine between intense periods of training or between MWU Programs or Challenges.
Here are a few options you could consider depending on how you’re feeling, and what your goals are.
If you’ve been training hard for several months now, it might be time for a deload phase.
A deload is the best option for you if you’ve been training hard for several months, for example doing 2-3 Programs in a row with little rest in between, or if you've been hitting the gym hard before starting your Program.
During a deload phase, which typically lasts for 1-2 weeks, you are required to take things easier in your workouts, which could mean any of the following adjustments, or a combination of:
- Lifting lighter weights
- Reducing the volume, with less sets, or less exercises incorporated into your workouts
- Exercising less frequently (e.g. dropping to 3-4 training days and dedicating the remainder of the week to active rest)
- Or if you're feeling tired and unmotivated to train, you might resort to light-moderate activity like yoga, dance classes, bike rides, or long walks.
Incorporating deload periods into your regime is extremely important to give your body an opportunity to rest, repair and rejuvenate. The ultimate goal here is maintenance and recovery, not setting new personal records.
Taking a break is absolutely fine and will not set you back in terms of results. Instead, upon returning to your next training phase, you'll likely feel more motivated and energetic, meaning better performance and amplified results.
If you've just started out on your fitness journey and you’re on a roll, keep it up.
If you're a real goal-getter wanting to achieve maximum progress and are planning on starting a new Program or Challenge immediately, we recommend you stay consistent with your nutrition in between. We still recommend taking it easy with your training in the interim, even if you don’t wish to do a full-on deload.
You could add an extra rest day, try some Live Workouts from the MWU App, create a new training split with some sessions from the Workout Library, or experiment with a fun new way to move your body.
As always, remember to have fun with your training, listen to your body, and don’t overdo it.
Rest and recovery
Please don’t feel guilty for taking a break or additional days off after your Challenge. We promise you won’t sabotage your progress by taking a much needed break, and you’ll likely feel more energetic and motivated after giving your body an opportunity to reset.
“No pain - no gain” is just a fitness myth. More like “no recovery time - no gain”, actually.
Overall, there are no set rules on how frequently to take breaks or how much time off to take, so listen to your body and don’t ignore the tell-tale signs of fatigue and burnout.
Signs of needing a break include
- Reduced motivation, which might look like dreading going to the gym
- Decreased performance and energy in your workouts
- Frequent muscle soreness and long lasting injuries
- Irritability, high stress levels, or mood swings
- Unusual tiredness and fatigue that can’t be explained by medical reasons
- Low immunity levels (e.g. frequent colds and other minor illnesses)
- Reaching a stubborn plateau despite staying consistent with your regime
Often when we embark on a fitness journey and really want to change, we start to lose momentum after a few weeks when the initial motivation and excitement wares off. We may even start to sabotage the progress that we've made by reverting back to our old habits. Why is that?
Mindset Coach and Neuroscientist Alexis Fernandez shares her insights on how to make positive changes permanent and lasting in your life.
"The problem lies in the strength of the goal. If the reason isn’t compelling enough and if your ‘why’ isn’t strong enough, the change you want to implement will never be lasting. The journey will be uncomfortable and in no time, you will find yourself back where you started.
If you are dissatisfied or unhappy with where you are in life, then naturally you want to get away from that. So you often do something drastic to get away from your discomfort and it works momentarily, but only for the short term. It’s not enough to only know what you don’t want, but it’s definitely a start. You have to get clear on what you WANT.
For example, it’s fine to say, I don’t want to have these extra 10kgs or I don’t want to feel tired all the time, but if that is your only statement then you are always running away from something.
Then when you get far enough away from your discomfort, for example when you lose a few kilos, then you start to relax again, because the drastic changes you made are too hard to adhere to, it’s no longer exciting, and this new lifestyle is almost as uncomfortable as your old life. That is why you slip back to your old ways again and again.
However if you can focus on something you want to GAIN then the pull is much greater and you start to see value in everything you do. You'll see value in each early morning, each meal you prep, and in the small, tiny wins. It’s all about switching your focus to the positive outcomes.
To do this, you need to focus on the future you, and the ideal version of you that will manifest if you were to follow through.
You need to identify and focus on the feeling. How much energy will you have? Will you feel more confident? Will you be happier? Be more focused and determined? What is possible for you when this is your new reality?
Get clear on that image and identify what you are working towards. Write a list, create a vision board but BE CLEAR. That is the most crucial part of making change permanent and lasting.
The truth is, that it’s all the little decisions you make every single day that will create the life you dream of having. It’s not easy, but it’s very simple. Don’t underestimate what you can do in one or two years just because you don’t see change in a week.
Celebrate the wins, act for your future self and start running towards what you love and stop running away from what you don’t".
And there you have it, your complete guide to navigating training, recovery, nutrition and mindset after completing your MWU Challenge.
Each of these aspects are extremely important when it comes to achieving a balanced lifestyle that works for you and your long term goals.
Whatever adventure you decide to embark on next, we want you to get the most out of it - and following these tips will guide your transition into the next phase of your health and fitness journey.
We hope you have enjoyed this Challenge as much as we have, and encourage you to stay committed and focused on your ongoing quest to be the healthiest, happiest you.