The F45 Challenge and me – results!

I wore short shorts for only the second or third time in my life on Friday. Do you know how liberating that was?! I actually had to buy a new pair because the high waisted shorts I’d refused to throw out over the past couple of years incase I could get back into them are now too big for me! The other day I went shopping with my mum and bought a crop top to wear with my short shorts. A bloody crop top guys! This is insane.

Check out the cyclist tan on these legs ?

Fitter, happier, more productive

I’m learning to embrace a fitter, stronger, slightly leaner me, (or as Thom York would say, fitter, happier, more productive…) after finishing the eight week F45 challenge from 23 April to 17 June. I say ‘slightly’ leaner because I could’ve been more disciplined, could’ve followed the plan a bit more to the nose, but I needed it to be sustainable so did it my way.

For me, this was only ever a kickstart to a longterm goal of finding my discipline again with my food habits. I think I’ve found it – I just need to keep hold of it now. Isn’t that the hardest bloody thing? I can train all day long, I love exercising, but I also love eating all the food, all the time, and find it very easy to revert back to my old ways of convenience foods and daily sugar fixes.

The fullest, healthiest fridge there ever was  🙂
The best goddamn breakfast of the whole 8 weeks – coconut overnight oats ?

What this challenge has reminded me is how to nourish my body with what I put into it, and what I can get out of it if I do that bit right. It’s all a work in progress but it’s taught me a few things:

  • Working out so hard you sweat from your eyes makes you feel AMAZING. 
  • A watched F45 timer never stops (see Insta vid below) 
  • I don’t need bread as much as I thought I did. In fact I’ve practically given it up without realising. 
  • Black americanos are actually quite nice – and my daily one or two flat whites are a thing of the past! 
  • I can keep myself fuller for longer if I eat enough protein (a definite work in progress and room for improvement here…)
  • Cashew nuts and coconut milk in smoothies is AMAZING. 
  • A low GI diet is my friend – my energy levels are so much better and balanced throughout the day. 
  • I need to keep taking my magnesium supplement for muscle recovery and good sleep.
  • I need more yoga in my life. 

Oh, and one more thing: 

  • I bloody love F45!

A watched kettle never boils… and a watched 20sec timer for #f45athletica never ends, it seems ? – 3 pods, twice through, each with 3 exercises. 4sets of 20secs at each exercise. This was the penultimate exercise of the whole workout. _ Behold the disintegration of Tess as she battles the battle ropes. #sorrynotsorry for the swearing at the end but I think you’ll find it’s F45 speak for “I love this, I feel awesome!” ?(come and train with us @f45_brightoncentral , you’ll LOVE/HATE it too!) _ I was still in bed at 6:20 this morning & the session started at 7. So glad I dragged myself there – I really *do* feel awesome now ??

A post shared by Tess Agnew (@fitbits_) on

What is F45 anyway?  

It’s bloody brilliant, is what it is. If you’ve been following me on InstaTwitter or Facebook, you’ll have seen my posts about the challenge. It’s basically eight weeks of training at the brilliant F45 studio by Brighton station with a full nutrition plan designed to lose fat and build lean muscle. For those not in the know, F45 is a fitness phenomenon hailing from Australia that’s taken the UK by storm. It’s functional training, for 45 minute sessions (hence F, 45).

There are multiple classes throughout the day, 6, 7 and 9.30am, 12.30pm and three in the evening between 5.30-7.30, and you work through each exercise in the pods in pairs. The sessions are HARRRRD AF and leave you sweating from your eyes and drenched in endorphins and post-workout high fives.

The HIIT sessions are relentless and brilliant and everything I needed in my life after getting nice and strong while weight training with my awesome PT. The F45 strength sessions are great too, but I focused on the HIIT as I was already lifting heavy with Pete.

Read 7 reasons why I love training with a PT here. 

Team training, life changing

I’ve always been a sucker for group exercise. It’s how I got into fitness when I discovered how much fun Zumba and group bootcamp classes could be. The Brighton Central F45 studio has only been open for six months and everyone’s achieved so much already. It has the most supportive, progressive family vibe. It’s one thing exercising on your own, pushing yourself to do just one more rep, run that little bit further, lift that little bit heavier. But when you’ve got your tribe right next to you doing exactly the same, pushing their boundaries, sweating from their eyes too, and the PTs walking around helping those struggling, checking form and keeping you motivated, it’s just SO MUCH BETTER.

Add to that the banging music (especially on a Saturday when they have a LIVE DJ pumping out the house tunes!!!), and you might just have yourself the best workout set up ever. It’s pretty hard not to give your all when everything’s in line like that, so you really do get the best from yourself.

The challenge – how did it go?


So the eight week challenge. How did I find it, how did I do? Not gonna lie, I found it difficult. But then if it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth doing, right? The first two weeks are meant to be the hardest, the ‘detox’ weeks (hate that word). No sugar, no caffeine, no alcohol, no starchy carbs – lots of lean meat, vegetables and a fuck ton of water. Once I got over the coffee and sugar hangover I actually felt my best in those first two weeks. I wasn’t hungry at all and felt really strong in all of my sessions, including PT when I squatted 65kg for the first time.

It was all going so well until week four when I went mountain biking in Wales and ate ALL THE CARBS to fuel an amazing couple of days’ riding (blog and video coming soon btw). When we were back I had three days straight back on the plan and training hard and then went on holiday to Spain for nearly a week, and that’s where the wheels fell off a bit, of course. (Show me anyone who follows a healthy eating plan on holiday, ’cause apparently it aint me…)

This is what happens when you order a cappuccino in Spain ??

I did plan to stay active though, but those plans of running and cycling in the hills were reverted to chill time when Chris got pickpocketed on the day we arrived in Barcelona and dislocated his shoulder. Luckily nothing was taken as he noticed and stopped them – although in hindsight we would’ve rather lost a wallet than sustained an injury.

So instead of an active holiday we spent it sitting about in the sun drinking beer and eating tapas – and to be honest it was a glorious and much-needed break. When we got back I went straight back to training and got right back on the food plan and within a couple of days was feeling fit and strong again. It’s about balance, see, and it has to work for your lifestyle. I’ve swapped meals where it hasn’t worked with me adding food to my heavy bags on the cycle commute to Worthing. I’ve had meals out (but been very mindful of what I’ve put in my gob and chosen lean meats and lots of veg where possible). I’ve even had chocolate and a few puddings along the way at family parties (goddamn the summer!), but I’ve followed the principles and made it sustainable for me.

One thing I’m very proud of is going to a family party and not touching a drop of alcohol, even though there was a FREE BAR all night. Yes, I had the birthday cake and all the food, but no alcohol, which meant no hangover craving shit food and ruining the whole weekend, so YAY me. And one thing I know I definitely need to work on is my protein intake as I actually lost a tiny bit of muscle mass too which I wasn’t expecting. It’s probably because I’ve not been refuelling as well as I should’ve done – er… Tess, that’s why you need to follow the food plan properly, duh… – so yeah, a lesson learned there me thinks.


The results of this challenge attempt? I’ve lost 2% body fat and 4kg of weight, down a dress size, nearly two, depending where you shop, and am comfy in shorts for the first time EVERRRR so I’m happy with that! In case you’re wondering, my training during those eight weeks typically looked like this (not including cycle commutes round town and occasionally to Worthing):

MON: F45 HIIT class
TUE: PT weight training AM / occasional hockey summer league match
WED: F45 HIIT class AM / hockey training PM
THU: PT weight training
FRI: rest 
SAT: F45 Hollywood class (1hr hybrid of HIIT / strength training with LIVE DJ – BEST WORKOUT EVERRRRRRRRR!)
SUN: Cycle ride

Not keen on putting my bum on the internet but hey, I’m proud that it’s smaller 🙂

I think if I’d have done more F45 classes, or actually just been more disciplined with the food, who am I kidding, I might’ve got better results. Some people lost a huge amount of body fat, the female winner lost nearly 9kg and ate only one day off plan instead of my week or two so you can see that it really does work if you put everything you have into it!

But the thing with me (as I’m sure you know, if you read this blog regularly or follow me on social), is I don’t just do one thing. I like to dip my fingers in many fitness pies, finding lots of different ways to stay active, challenge myself and have fun along the way. I wouldn’t want to give up my hockey, or my cycling, and definitely not my weight training because that’s totally my fave at the mo. I don’t want to give up the HIIT though either and I definitely want to keep progressing towards my longterm goals of a leaner, fitter, stronger me, so I’m gonna have to look at this calendar of mine and fit it all in somehow… I usually find a way, don’t I.  ?

The next challenge starts on 16th July and the lovely lot at F45 Brighton Central are GIVING TWO PLACES AWAY. Find out more and enter on the Facebook page and try it out for yourself with a FREE two week trial! (Warning, you *will* get hooked!)

*Disclaimer: I was invited to take part in the F45 Challenge to share my experience with you. All fat loss, self confidence, fitness and love for the amazing training and family at F45 are my own, promise!


Have you tried F45? 

Do you find staying on track with your food as hard as me?!   

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