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Beginner’s guide to the 20 Day Challenge

Brad Fisher played 99 AFL games for Carlton between 2003 and 2010. He is currently the Manager – Alumni & Corporate Programs at the AFL Players’ Association, and is taking part in the TeamUp 20 Day Challenge starting this Sunday, April 13

The TeamUp 20 Day Challenge kicked off last Sunday, but if you didn’t jumped on board, don’t stress! You’re not the only one, and there’s still plenty of time to get involved.

There’s no shortage of exercise programs to complete throughout the 20 Day Challenge, but before you get to all that, here’s a few basic pointers that will help in preparing to exercise.

if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.



  • Processed food – Convenient, but are usually high in chemical additives, trans fats, salts and refined sugars.
  • Most refined foods – This means refined flour, sugars (high-fructose, white, brown, and the rest), trans-fats etc.
  • Artificial ingredients and preservatives – As the saying goes: if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.     
  • Alcohol – The long and short of it is: alcohol is a toxin.
  • Soda and fruit juice – Don’t drink your calories: soda is loaded with sugar, diet soda is loaded with artificial sweeteners and fruit juice is also often loaded with refined sugar and of course, natural sugars.

Focus on…

  • Eat according to your goals – Eating to lose weight, maintain your weight, or gain weight.
  • Eat plenty vegetables – Veggies, veggies, veggies! Get as many veggies as you can: cruciferous, dark leafy greens, even potatoes
  • Eat fruits in moderation – Fruits are a sweet treat and a nutritious alternative to candies and other refined sugars, but it is possible to eat too many – moderation is key.
  • Eat high-quality meats – (Optional) If you’re a vegetarian or vegan you have plant-based alternatives. For the meat eaters, aim to get your meat from grass-fed animals if possible. It’s more expensive, but it’s also healthier.
  • Eat healthy fats – Healthy fats don’t make you fat, they’re good for you! Yes, even some healthy (i.e. from a high-quality source) saturated fats. You can get healthy fats from fish, nuts and seeds, avocados, eggs etc.

    For meat eaters, aim to get your meat from grass-fed animals if possible. It’s more expensive, but it’s also healthier.


  • Water is the Key – The simplest way of ensuring you are hydrated (necessary for ultimate sporting performance) is drinking ‘lots’ of water. Fill up a 1 litre bottle of water in the morning and make sure you finish and refill by lunchtime and again at dinner. This will ensure 3 plus litres of water each day. The hotter the temperature (or humidity) the more you will sweat and you will need to drink more than usual – The same with physical excersise – you will need to continually top up your fluids.

The easiest way to make sure you are hydrated is to check the colour of your urine – if it is clear, you are hydrated. If it is yellow or orange – you are dehydrated. Note: some vitamins will cause your urine to be a darker colour – if you have maintained plenty of water, you will still be hydrated.

After exercise it is important to re-hydrate. The best way to know how much you have sweated out, is to weigh yourself before and after exercise. If you have lost 2kg’s you need to replace that fluid (and then some).


  • Before and after exercise it is important to have a thorough stretch to ensure all muscles are warmed up and then cooled down appropriately. Focus on the main muscles – lower back, hamstrings, quads, glutes, calves etc. Hold each stretch for 15-20 seconds before changing sides.
  • Dynamic stretching is also very important – Leg swings, running high knees, running calf flicks, lunges etcTo stay up to date on the TeamUp 20 Day Challenge, make sure you:

    Download the TeamUp app at
    Like the TeamUp Victoria Facebook page
    Follow @AFLPlayers
    Follow @TeamUpVic
    Follow #20DC on all social media