The Body Makeover Challenge: adapt, progress and integrate

The Body Makeover Challenge: adapt, progress and integrate

The Body Makeover Challenge, USN’s 12-week weight-loss programme, has transformed South Africans’ lives for the past 18 years. As part of this programme, participants follow healthy eating and exercise plans that are provided by USN.

The challenge is divided into three phases: Adaptation, Progression, and Maximisation and Integration. If you are currently participating in the Body Makeover Challenge or if you intend to participate in the next challenge, it is important to understand how your body will react during each phase.

Adaptation: what to expect in this phase?

During the adaptation phase (week 1 to 4), it is normal for your body to feel tired. Your body needs time to adapt to the new training plan and lifestyle. Even though the shock on your body might result in initial slow weight loss, you should start to feel and see results by week 3. 

What to expect during this phase?

  • Stiffness and soreness: The extensive exercise can result in microscopic tears and lactic acid build-up in your muscles, which can result in your body feeling stiff and sore. 
  • Fatigue: This is a natural part of the process, as your body will need time to adapt to a calorie-restricted eating plan and intense training programme.
  • Slow weight loss: Even though you may not lose as much weight as expected during the first two weeks, you will progressively lose fat and retained fluids as your metabolism starts to speed up and your body starts to use its energy sources more efficiently.
  • Possible weight gain: Do not be alarmed if you gain weight during the first two weeks of the challenge. The inflammation in your sore muscles can make you feel heavier.


Week 5 to 8, also known as the Progression Phase, is when you should take your training to the next level. This phase requires more self-discipline and stronger adherence to the training plan. It is important to focus on completing the training exactly according to the plan. Now is the time to increase your intensity, decrease your rest periods during different sets and increase your workload. This will accelerate weight loss and increase lean muscle.

What to expect during this phase?

  • Increased hunger: Thanks to the increased intensity of the exercise programme that burns energy faster, you may experience more cravings and hunger than during phase 1. Do not deviate from your eating plan, as this phase will demand more from your body. Remember that if you adhere to the plan, it will accelerate fat loss.
  • Decreased fatigue: During this phase, you should experience less fatigue as your body gets used to the new lifestyle. It should be easier to fit your training into your normal day without taking a toll on your body.
  • Slight soreness and stiffness: You might still experience a degree of soreness and stiffness due to the increased intensity of the programme, but it should subside within a week.
  • Feeling fitter: You will begin to feel the benefits of getting more fit. It will now be easier to perform better for longer while training.
  • Increased motivation: By this point, you should have the confidence to know that you can make it through this challenge, it is just a matter of pushing your body even further.

Maximisation and integration

During the last stretch of the 12-week challenge, you should focus on maximising your results and integrating the challenge into your daily life. The final phase will require discipline and perseverance to reach your weight-loss goals.

What to expect during this phase?

  • Increased training load: This phase will require that you push yourself to your limits, leaving you with little time to rest between sets.
  • Increased strength, endurance and fitness levels: By this stage of the challenge, you will see significant changes in your fitness levels and lean muscle mass.
  • Lifestyle change: After dedicating three months of your life to the Body Makeover Challenge, it will become part of your lifestyle. It will now become easier to make better choices for the future.
  • Increased fatigue: You may experience fatigue during the first two weeks of the Maximisation and Integration Phase, as your body adapts to the increased intensity. Remember to ensure that you get enough rest.
  • Increased hunger: You will demand even more of your body in the last stretch of the challenge. Make sure that you have the right supplements to support you during the remainder of the Body Makeover Challenge.

If you need more information to complete your challenge, visit the Body Makeover Challenge section on our website.