Craig Smith / Transformation

Craig Smith's amazing MAX'S Challenge transformation

  • Before
  • After



168 cm


Lean - Intermediate

Reason to start The Challenge

After letting things around me stress me out and put me off track with my training and diet, I decided I need the structure of the challenge to get things back on track.

What did you like most about The Challenge?

Conpeleting the challenge as a vegan it forced me to gain a better understanding about my macros, in order to achieve my desired result. It taught me to be mindful of the carb and fat intake of my protein source. The nutrition knowledge gained is certainly the best thing about the challenge.

What was the hardest thing about your Challenge?

Balancing things that come up in life during the challenge. Whether that is an injury, moving house or completing an exam.

What impact has The Challenge had on your life?

I feel so fit and full of energy! I feel very happy with the way I look and now have the confidence to take my shirt off at the beach.

What would you say to people who are thinking of doing The Challenge?

Do yourself a favour and sign up. Commit to the 12 weeks and be amazed by what you can achieve.

Anything else you would like to tell us about your Challenge?

I trusted the process and now know why we are told to do so.


  • Craig Smith
    24 Nov 2017
    8:04 AM

    Probably my last journal for the challenge so here goes! Training done and dusted!!! food all ready for today and will add a small of amount of carbs (100g of sweet potato) to dinner. Tan booked for tonight and an early morning photo and my 12 weeks is completed! I have enjoyed the ride which has had many ups and downs but it is all part of the learning experience. I take away a renewed passion for fitness and eating healthy. My fitness levels are close to the best they have been and will be the best they have EVER been as I continue to live the Max Challenge way of life. Probably the most important this i learned from the challenge came in the form of an email which said, "creating habits not restrictions". We can still have a nice glass of wine with a loved one or a pie and beer with mates at the footy, as log as we continue to live a healthy lifestyle the rest of the time. For those that are gunning for a top 10 or 50 spot and may miss out, don't be disheartened. By just completing the 12 weeks you should feel very proud, as a lot have dropped off along the way for one reason or another and a healthier version of you is the best prize at the end of the day. The accolades of finishing in the top 10 will not last as long as the health benefits you have gained! Finally, thanks to all those that have taken the time to write a journal and also read them. Knowing others are going through the same struggles at times can give you that push to get to the next high. Good luck in continuing your journey guys!

  • Craig Smith
    23 Nov 2017
    9:06 AM

    This was the last set from my final hard session before final photo. Only 8kg but felt like 20kg, gotta love getting the vein pump! On the final stretch now, just have to keep focused for the next couple of days and keep everything on point!

  • Craig Smith
    22 Nov 2017
    8:48 AM

    3 more days until i take my final photo. I think i am just excited to see the final result now that we are so very close to the end. The next three days training is planned out, with a couple of weights sessions and a couple of HIIT gym classes. Food is on point, even survived the FFA cup final last night with not having a drink.

  • Craig Smith
    21 Nov 2017
    8:51 AM

    Last leg session off the challenge done! got waxed last weekend, so was seeing some great definition in the quads when doing leg extensions. A couple more weight sessions, a few HIIT cardio sessions, tan on Friday night and Photo's Saturday morning. Then Monday off to Byron Bay for a few days of R&R, really looking forward to just chilling out with my wife after the last couple of hectic months.

  • Craig Smith
    20 Nov 2017
    9:10 AM

    5km fun run completed yesterday in 20:31 mins which i am wrapped about! 11 weeks ago i would never have thought i would have got my fitness to a level where i am back running like that. Such a good feeling to feel fit and healthy again. I didn't want to just focus on trimming down during the 12 weeks, i wanted to feel fit again and i have achieved that. Mindset has really changed from trying to get the best result for 12 weeks to getting the best result to set me up to succeed going forward. I really have that desire to get my health to a level that i avoid illnesses that are lnked to an unhealthy lifestyle. I am 35 and felt i was starting to slip into that unhealthy lifestyle. Now i feel great again and look forward to continuing on and being one of those fit 40, 50 or 60 year olds still running around loving life. I have certainly changed to a big picture focus this challenge. Looking forward to smashing out week 12 and continuing on!

  • Craig Smith
    13 Nov 2017
    7:43 AM

    feel like i am getting lighter and so much fitter. Did 7km run yesterday without stopping and clocked in at 31mins, very happy with that effort. i have signed up to a 5km fun run this Sunday which i am now looking forward too. I have certainly noticed a lot of changes of the last 10 weeks, not only physically but mentally. I have found a good balance and routine, not more "i'll go tomorrow"!

  • Craig Smith
    9 Nov 2017
    8:18 AM

    Mon-Today has been really good for both training and nutrition. 3 gym sessions, 3 cardio sessions and doing a HIIT running session with my brother tonight. Heading up the coast tomorrow to visit my parents and plan to take most meals with me. We will head out for lunch one day and i will just make the best choice I have available to me. I feel I am starting to really lean out now but also feel very fit, which is a great feeling. I am really getting to a place where i am loving training (both weights and cardio) and enjoying eating healthy. If you loving the lifestyle changes it is going to be much easier to continue on in a few weeks time. If things are a chore then the excuses will come out, so I am making sure I do things that leave me wanting more and I look forward to doing next time. Final photo prep is done, with wax and tan booking in. Looking forward to seeing how everything looks once i am not so pale. Keep pushing hard boys, not long too go!

  • Craig Smith
    6 Nov 2017
    1:50 PM

    Just did a HIIT class at the gym and feel great, worn out but great. I felt like i was working the hardest there, something i really try to do. i was drenched in sweat and loved my salad for lunch afterwards. 19 days until i take my final photo, going to make each day count!

  • Craig Smith
    1 Nov 2017
    5:07 PM

    Rest day tomorrow, yay! last 3 days have been 3 x weights, 1 x 7km run and 1 x 30min HIIT gym session, going to sleep well tonight! Might go for a lunchtime walk tomorrow just to get the blood flowing through the legs in prep for the second leg session of the week. Seen some awesome check in pics, keep up the good work for 3.5 more weeks guys!

  • Craig Smith
    30 Oct 2017
    8:59 AM

    First day of the new program and really enjoyed it. Leg day - Quad dominant really got the burn happening. I don't have a hack machine at my gym and struggled with the alternative i found on the net, but will get there. 35 dgrees today in Sydney, so that planned run will be put on hold especially as the temp drops to 19 degrees tomorrow. Looking forward to smashing out the final 4 weeks and bringing it home strong!

  • Craig Smith
    26 Oct 2017
    8:51 AM

    It has been ages since i have posted and so much has gone on. I had 7 days of study for an exam i failed twice, so that became my number one priority. Nutrition was at about 90% during that period, just a couple of extra snacks to get me through the long hours of study. After exam was done my wife and i went away for the weekend, which had been planned for 8 months (so long before even thinking of joining the challenge). Ate reasonably healthy but had a night of drinking at the Midnight Oil concert. Back into routine now and looking forward to smashing out the remaining weeks of the challenge. My brother just pointed out to me that the returning challenger program has 3 leg days next week if we do the 3 on 1 off. NICE!!! Feeling i am really starting to lean out and the abs are coming through. Best thing is that i now have much healthier habits and one bad night doesn't derail me. As the email from Max's said, it is about creating habits not restrictions.

  • Craig Smith
    13 Oct 2017
    8:55 AM

    Smashing out a massive REST day today!!! Last three days have consisted of Tues: am legs, lunch jog. Wed: am pull, lunch HIIT core session Thurs: am Push (PT), evening interval sprints 30 sec on 90 sec off. Feeling a bit worn out but looking forward to hitting the gym tomorrow!

  • Craig Smith
    11 Oct 2017
    4:15 PM

    Did a 5.8km jog yesterday at lunch in 29 mins, felt like a good pace and got the blood through the legs. Pull session this morning, followed by a HIIT core session at lunch, really got my sweat on and felt awesome after it. Not only am i getting stronger (hitting PB's) or feeling leaner, i am starting to feel fit again. A few years ago i was at my peak fitness level, running rings around people on the soccer field and running 14km's in 57mins (Sydney's City 2 Surf), it is great to have that feeling that i am heading back to there. Previous challenges i have really just focussed on getting the best result in those 12 weeks and putting so much pressure on myself to get that lucrative top 10, but to maintain that strict way afterwards i found it difficult which lead to slipping back into old habits. Last year doing both challenges it meant that 168 days of last year the challenge was my life, I am now making the challenge part of my life. This challenge so far has not only been about working hard in the gym and eating healthy, it has been about long term goals and setting myself up to achieve those. Next Friday i have an exam (third attempt at the subject) so that will be my priority and main focus. I luckily have an outdoor gym around the corner, so in between hitting the books i will do a couple of quick sessions there. A few pull ups, dips, push ups and crunches. I will eat healthy throughout the week but will be making sure i eat enough to keep focused. Sorry about the long boring post, just been doing a bit od soul search on what i really want to achieve.

  • Craig Smith
    10 Oct 2017
    8:11 AM

    Legs again this morning, seems to roll around very quickly. Calves and Hanstrings have been very sore, so was a bit of a struggle this morning but got it done. Going for a nice easy jog at lunch to get the blood flowing through them and help them recover. I have organised a cardio session with my brother for Thursday evening. A slow jog to the athletics track and then some 400m's at a quick pace. Looking forward to it!!!! (sicko)

  • Craig Smith
    8 Oct 2017
    11:39 AM

    First journal for a while, been moving house. Having no fridge, except a small camping one has made things tough but it's called a challenge for a reason right. Getting leaner as the weeks go by, looking forward to see some more changes over the next few weeks then really push it home in the final phase. Loving the new workouts and increased cardio!!!

  • Craig Smith
    28 Sep 2017
    7:38 AM

    Very happy with progress to date and looking forward to the program shift next week to shock to body into more changes.

  • Craig Smith
    27 Sep 2017
    8:23 AM

    went for my first run in 12 months yesterday and then attempted legs this morning, felt the burn from the first rep to the last! There are a couple of running groups at work, so i thought i would harder group. Lucky for me they were doing a bit of a recovery run and it was a slower pace than usual. We did 5.56km in 27.5mins, so not a bad first run. I used to do a lot of running before getting injured so it felt great to be out there at lunch. One thing could definitely notice was the strength i had in my glutes when running up the inclines, which is obviously from the squats. I think i will join the guys for a tough session once a week where they do interval sprints, just to burn a bit of extra fat. I have taken my week 4 check in photo and i am pretty happy with it, looking forward to comparing it to the next one in 4 weeks time.

  • Craig Smith
    25 Sep 2017
    9:19 AM

    wow, what a weekend! This coming weekend we move house, so we spent the weekend that just went by packing. We are moving to a bigger house as my wife works a bit from home and we both study part time, so our 2 bedroom terrace house is no longer bigger enough. Not only did we have to pack up the house, we also had to get the house we own ready for photos as we will be renting it out. We are both doing the challenge and were both dead on our feet at about 6:30pm last night. We had a couple of beers with dinner and have absolutely no regrets! Up at 4:30am this morning for a pull session, followed by a HITT spin bike session.

  • Craig Smith
    20 Sep 2017
    1:33 PM

    F me, i am absolutely stuffed!!!! I felt wrecked after yesterday's early morning session and could have fell asleep at my desk if i put my head down. I thought an early night would do me the world of good and set my alarm for the gym in the morning. 4:30am it goes off and i am on struggle street. I guess I was on auto-pilot, and crawled out of bed, had my betapump. I could barely keep my eyes open so i went back to bed. 20 mins later the betapump kicks in and i am off to the gym to do legs. Didn't feel too bad this morning so went and did my ab's/HITT session, which killed me. refueling now and smashing more water, come on 5pm!!! Got a couple of things to cook tonight and then off to bed! PT session in the morning at 5:15am to do a push session.

  • Craig Smith
    19 Sep 2017
    7:51 AM

    Pushing really hard during my workouts, making each rep count. Even the exercises that were my weak point, i am pushing harder than i ever have. PB on deadlifts today which i used to avoid doing. From 60kg's 2 weeks ago to 90kg's this morning. It is those improvements that give you a boost are get you excited to go back and push it even further next time. Doing the challenge last year as a meat eater i achieved great results. This time around i am doing it as a vegan, which has been a challenge in itself. Starting to get the hang of cooking different vegan protein sources, having them taste unreal, high in protein and low in fat. I am starting to see a number of changes already in my mid area and can't wait to see how the next 9.5 weeks go. It has also made it a lot easier when there are 30 vegan/vegetarians in our group on the challenge site, sharing ideas. Time to get some work done and then back to the gym for a HITT session. Have a great day and push hard!!!

  • Craig Smith
    18 Sep 2017
    9:52 AM

    Week 3, bring it on!!!!!

  • Craig Smith
    15 Sep 2017
    8:52 AM

    REST day today!!!! actually very tired today after a hectic week, so looking forward to an early night. Can't believe we have almost done two week. Everything has now become routine and hopefully just runs like clock work.

  • Craig Smith
    14 Sep 2017
    12:27 PM

    It has been a crazy few days, Monday night i have class from 7-10:30pm (after working all day), Tuesday up at 4:40am and did pull session, Tuesday Lunch HITT cardio class at the gym, Wednesday Legs/Bi's at 5am, Wednesday Lunch another HITT cardio session, Wednesday night FFA cup watching Sydney FC play so home at 10pm, Thursday 5:15am PT session. Tonight i have to get a few things cooked for the next few days and then to bed. Looking forward to a rest day tomorrow. Cracking session with my PT this morning, did the push session and worked my arse off. Loved doing the clean and press and seeing in the mirror a little bit of muscle definition. It gives you a bit of a boost and helps push you along. Lunchtime it is, so off to have the weekly sandwiches!

  • Craig Smith
    12 Sep 2017
    11:59 AM

    Switched my pull session and push session around this week, so i could do the push with my PT. So this morning it was a pull session and i was happy to increase the weight on almost all exercises. Off at lunchtime today to do a HITT session, as one of two HITT sessions per week. Looking at joining a couple of regular runners at work for a light run on Friday's. I haven't run much since i had a few issues with my glutes and lower back. Hopefully i have done enough strength work on my glutes that i no longer have any issues. Tues, Wed and Thursday are very busy and it already feels like the days are rolling around very quickly. This week will be over before we know it. Food still on point, no cravings and reduced hunger between meals, so the body seems to be adjusting. Enjoy whatever session you may be doing today and pump hard!

  • Craig Smith
    11 Sep 2017
    8:59 AM

    Week 1 down and happy with the way it went. 5 weight session and 2 HITT cardio sessions, with nutrition according to the plan. Monday and Friday are rest days due to other commitments that I have, feels good to let the body recover and get ready for another tought session. Food prep done, so I can hit the ground running for week 2.

  • Craig Smith
    10 Sep 2017
    7:54 AM

    Leg day yesterday and just got back from my pull session. Loving the intensity of the super sets, I leave the gym feeling absolutely wrecked. After two legs session in one week, which I haven't done for a while, I went and got a massage. Nothing too extreme just focussing on the back, gluten and hamstrings. Legs feel good today even after increasing the weight on all exercises, might go every couple of weeks to just keep things a bit more flexible. Nutrition has been on check and this morning I realised I have not even wanted to have a beer. I was too busy cooking and making sure I was having enough water to even think about it. Study this morning, visit my nan mid afternoon and spend the rest of the day food prepping and getting gym and work clothes ready for the week. Looking forward to heading into week two best prepared as I can be. I hope everyone has bad a good weekend so far and enjoys the rest of Sunday. Stay true to yourselves guys, summer is not far away and we all want those unreal Ab's for it!💪💪💪

  • Craig Smith
    8 Sep 2017
    8:26 AM

    Rest day today!! certainly needed after the last three days i have done 3 weights sessions and 2 gym classes. Loving getting back into routine and eating clean, starting to feel a lot more alert. My wife who is doing the Maxine's challenge suggested that we should go for massages on the weekend, I think I can deal with that! I will be doing and early morning leg session, so hopefully the massage will help me recover a bit quicker than after the last legs session. Food all sorted for today and heading to the shops on the way home from work to buy for the weekend and week 2. Keep pushing hard fellas!

  • Craig Smith
    7 Sep 2017
    8:32 AM

    PT session today doing the push workout, bloody hell it was brutal! But it is that intensity that i need to bring every time i go to the gym. Looking forward to a well earned rest day tomorrow and then do legs Saturday and Pull on Sunday. Nutrition has been on point and getting less hungry between meals, helps with having about 3 litres of water. I hope everyone is prepared coming into the first weekend, when previous weekends may have included Pizza, beer and watching the footy. Now it is clean food, soda water with lime and watching the footy, after smashing the gym! Keep pushing hard boys, you will start to see some changes over the next couple of weeks.

  • Craig Smith
    6 Sep 2017
    8:54 AM

    Really feeling the glutes today after a double session yesterday. Pull session this morning and core class at lunch, which is a 21 minute HITT session focussing on strengthening the core. I have been doing the class for 10 weeks now and feel like i am getting some good strength in the core and hopefully after losing the fat around the gut i will have a nice 6 pack! Nutrition has been on point, just need to increase my water intake, at about 2.5-3 litres at the moment. I hope everyone enjoys their day and keep pumping hard, this is just the start!

  • Craig Smith
    5 Sep 2017
    8:29 AM

    I have never been one for gym classes, but i have been doing a core class for maybe 5-6 weeks now once a week. This morning whilst doing squats i could really notice the difference in my form with the increased strength in the mid region. I am also now going to do a glutes class which starts today, as i have had issues in the past with my lower back and glutes. Heading into my first core class i thought it was going to be easy and i wouldn't need a shower afterwards, man was i wrong! 45 second on / 15 seconds off, 7 stations and 3 rounds. Doing the advanced return challenger program i have 2 x HITT sessions and 2 x cardio sessions per week. Core and glutes class look like being my HITT sessions, functional and intense! I hope everyone had a good first day and are ready to smash out day 2!

  • Craig Smith
    4 Sep 2017
    11:42 AM

    Here we go again, another round of Max's challenge! I did so well after the last one i did in the second half of last year, but a few stressful things going on has seen a few bad habits creep back in. Thought i would jump back on board and have a bit of a reset. Got my wife, brother and a few mates joining me on this 12 week journey and I can't wait to see all our changes come Summer. Surrounding yourself with like minded people, who want to also makes changes to their lives will make the 12 weeks a lot easier. We are able to encourage and support each other through the tough times, which we all know will come about. Good luck to all other challengers that have decided to put their health at the forefront and make the postive changes. I am looking forward to reading others journals and see the awesome transformations along the way.

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