From Challenge to Change: Mastering Long-Term Fitness with These 10 Key Post-Challenge Strategies

By Ange

Congratulations on completing the 6-week Spring into Action challenge! This weekend we wrapped up the challenge with our 7th lifting party and the results were phenomenal. 

After over a year of stepping back from ‘participating’ in 23W challenges to focus on strength development and enjoying being out of diet mode, I jumped into this SIA challenge with a huge amount of enthusiasm. 

During this period, I managed to significantly improve my fitness and body composition, with a 4% drop in body fat and a notable increase of 1.1kg in muscle mass. My training focus was heavily weighted around strength, speed and power and impressively, I mastered performing 30 double unders in week 4. 

Most satisfyingly, I returned to lifting a 130kg deadlift, a personal best I hadn’t reached since before having kids, marking a triumphant comeback in my fitness journey and strongest body yet!

The work will stop here. Here are 10 pieces of advice that could be beneficial as you move forward into your next chapter:


1. Maintain Consistency

Consistency is key to long-term success. It’s not about intense short bursts but rather about maintaining a steady, sustainable pace. We understand that 6-weeks is not long enough for jaw dropping, knock them dead results. But it is long enough to get focused and achieve success. Now is not the time to stop! You can aim to maintain results, set new goals or continue with the original goal set. 

2. Set New Goals

During our Spring into Action challenge, we had some big performance goals to tick off. Now that they’ve achieved this milestone, help them set new fitness and health goals. Whether it’s improving strength, endurance, or trying new activities, having clear objectives keeps motivation high. Ensure that your goals follows the SMART approach (Specific, measurable, achievable and time dependant)

3. Focus on Balanced Nutrition

If you had a goal to drop body fat, you would have needed to manipulate your caloric intake from certain macronutrients to achieve this.

For example, during this challenge I was able to drop a significant amount of body fat and did this by carb cycling. Some days I would have only 1-2 serves of starchy carbs and filled up on more fibrous veggies. I cut out all sugary and processed food too. I did have a few cheat days (high school reunion and my birthday) but was way more disciplined around snacking. portion size and not eating after dinner. 

I would not recommend this diet as a long-term solution. It is important to have a a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. I also love the 80/ 20 approach. My 6-week challenge diet was a reflection of my current habits dialled in. Moving out of the challenge, I can afford a little more flexibility and still be able to maintain body composition. 

4. Understand Diet Breaks

Have you heard of the concept of a diet break? This is a short periods where they eat at maintenance calories. This can help prevent metabolic adaptations, reduce psychological stress, and improve long-term adherence to dietary goals. If you have seen a 2+ drop in body fat, consider adding in a diet break week before going back into a deficit. 

5. Implement a Reverse Diet

If you have been on a calorie deficit, gradually increasing calorie intake (reverse dieting) can help their metabolism adjust. This should be done strategically to avoid rapid weight gain and maintain lean muscle mass.

In my example, I will add back in one-two small changes in my diet every week to rebuild my maintenance calories. 

6. Stay Hydrated

Remind yourself how good it feel when you are well hydrated!  Water is essential for every bodily function. It will help you perform at your best both mentally and physically

7. Prioritise Sleep

During the Spring into Action we had a specific focus on recovery. Not only do we need quality sleep for recovery, muscle growth, and overall health, it plays a huge role to aid in weight management.

8. Incorporate Flexibility and Mobility Work

This challenge I had a much great focus on doing a proper warm up and cool down to make the most of my training and frequently spent 10 minutes stretching in front of the TV at night. This was a game changer for improving movement quality.

9. Monitor Progress

I love keeping track of my progress. Do not just look for the scales;  constantly check in on how you feel in your body, energy levels, vitality, how clothes fit, data in your training app and more!

10. Stay Positive and Patient

Fitness and health are lifelong journeys.  Progress may slow down, but with persistence, they’ll continue to see results. It is also important to remember that you do not need to be ‘all in’ to continue getting great results. Just be patient and maintain a positive mindset.

Remember, the key is to build sustainable habits that can be maintained in the long term, rather than seeking quick fixes.

If you are keen to join us for our next challenge, keep an eye out for our 2024 Kickstarter starting mid February. 


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Our founder

Ange Drake is an personal trainer, women’s empowerment coach and fitness blogger in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. She is the director of one of the few womens’ only strength training gyms in Melbourne, 23W. Ange helps women to learn how to use strength based training, nutritional strategies and a positive mindset to transform their bodies, relationship with food and mind.

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