Renee Lathwell / Transformation

Renee Lathwell's amazing Maxine's Challenge transformation

  • Before
  • After



173 cm


Tone & Shape

Reason to start The Challenge

At a point where I'm sick of my clothes not fitting and becoming out of breath after minor activities. I loved doing the challenge in 2014 and when it finished I jumped off the wagon thinking I know how to climb back up - 6 years later and the only competition I excel at would be hotdog eating.
I'm not getting any younger, not are my knees finding it easy to hold me up, so it's time to try and catch up to the wagon and jump back on.

Looking forward to the next 12 weeks, especially knowing my partner is doing Max's and we're in this together - for a better future for each of us and our family.

What did you like most about The Challenge?

The structure and the support as part of the Challenge. Having a meal plan and exercise plan set for me gave me a structure, however it was flexible for me to adjust around kids, work, ambulance call-outs and life in general. The support from the Challenge team and other Challengers in the Facebook group was incredible, and I wish I'd joined the page sooner. Everyone is just so supportive of each other and I'm blown away by all the love shared there.

What was the hardest thing about your Challenge?

My partner and I signed up in January as a "last minute" chance to shape up before a friends wedding in June. The part that I found the hardest was that my partner didn't follow it as strictly as I did (he considered it more of a lifestyle change - long term - whereas I wanted to go hard for 12 weeks, then adjust into a longterm plan), and I had to determine that I was going to follow the plan, regardless of what anybody else was doing. I had done it before (loosely), I knew it worked and I knew it was only 12 weeks - it's not forever - just 12 weeks of following a plan and avoiding all the poor choices I had made over the last few years. I know a little bit of ice cream isn't a bad choice... A whole 1L tub in one go though? Poor choice Renee!!!
I think it made me push harder each workout, drag my sorry butt out of bed early each morning, and say no to foods that weren't challenge approved, but I knew if I wanted results I couldn't expect anyone else to carry me. I had to do it myself - So the hardest part was adjusting my mindset around doing it on my own.

What impact has The Challenge had on your life?

A hugely positive impact.
I have a wardrobe of clothes that I feel comfortable wearing now.
I can play hide-and-seek-chasey with my kids, and can actually do the chasey part (not just relying on my amazing hiding skills).
I have a workplace full of colleagues who have watched, supported, encouraged and congratulated me over the last 12 weeks, who are signing up with me for the May Challenge.
I have so much confidence now in myself - I have always been the smart-ass in the back of the room with little witty comments, but hated being in the spotlight or at the front of the room because I knew my clothes didn't fit and I wasn't comfortable...
In the last 12 weeks my confidence has gone through the roof, chairing meetings, putting forward new ideas, asserting myself. Even to the point that I organised a town Easter Run with an Easter Bunny on the back of a firetruck, throwing out lollies and Easter eggs to all the kids in our town stuck at home in lock-down. I had to push to get services on board amongst a culture of "it's not essential"... Then I was the Easter Bunny on the truck for 6 hours in a suit on a hot day.
I never would have done that before, but because of the challenge I have confidence and the energy to pull it off.
The best part was, the Easter Run was a huge success! The community feedback was overwhelming, and all the little (and big) kids faces made it so worthwhile, and I'm so proud that I pushed for it and did it!

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

If you're thinking of doing the Challenge, go onto the website and have a look at the "Previous Top 10's". It doesn't matter what shape or size you are, there's a finalist on that page that was just like you.
It's not even 12 weeks really...
Its 3x 4 week blocks; You take a start photo then get a meal and workout plan for a month.
After that month you check-in, take a progress photo then get a new workout plan and meal plan...
Do another month, check in and get a new meal and workout plan... Then take your final photo and its done.
Then you make sure you're sitting down when you put your first and final photo next to each other!

You might think that you're juggling so much now between all the facets of your life - work/ home/ kids/ sport/ commitments/ travel... How could you possibly juggle a meal plan and exercise too? Just do it, and all of a sudden, a healthier you finds it so much easier to juggle everything else! Its like a therapy or meditation session because you can't think of much else when you're busting out some solid workouts :)

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

It has been an amazing experience.
One Saturday morning around week 4, my partner and I did his endurance Tabata workout for 45 min, then jumped in a nice cool spa.
I was giving my aching muscles a bit of a feel-up, and I could feel how they had developed over the first month of the challenge... I could also feel my frame beneath the skin & fat whilst I was under water - It was the first time since becoming an adult that I actually felt hope for my body.
As a child I was told that bike pants made me look fat, as a tall teenager I was a size 14 at 17 years old - I always felt big, and knew I'd never be a size 8 - then 3 kids came along and destroyed my body!
This Challenge has given me such a positive outlook on my body and health, and it's just the beginning. I have a while to go (to undo years worth of neglect), but its the first time in my life a have a hopeful outlook.

Special thanks for the Maxine's/Max's Facebook page. The support shown to myself and others like me is just beautiful. To Head Coach Steve for the live feeds, video workouts and doing 15 minute Zoom meetings with Challengers - just a small thing for me, but must have been a huge undertaking! It made me feel like the Challenge is about the people and not just taking money and spitting out a generic plan. It's so well set up.

And lastly to our little town's Dance teacher - Liz Newton Dance Academy Carnarvon (look up website or Facebook, you can do online classes). Liz is an absolute machine. I've always enjoyed her Pilates and Shred classes, and the knowledge she has instilled in me over the last 3 years of periodically attending her classes has been hugely inspirational and super helpful during the Challenge - I found there were times when I would correct my form while doing an exercise and I could hear her voice in my head making me straighten up and breathe properly... or to do a few more reps when I wanted to collapse.
I can't recommend her enough, her classes are amazing, and after attending these I felt so much better prepared for the Challenge.


  • Renee Lathwell
    22 Apr 2020
    3:59 PM


    Completion done! Final Flex & Fitness test. So proud of my effort, I just want to play dress-ups in my wardrobe - some stuff I haven't even worn yet, but fits now. My energy is through the roof, and the things I have "rewarded" myself with taste like crap and make me feel sick. Who knew its not good for you? Haha. Happy days :) Bring on the May Challenge!!! Peace out!

    22 Burpees
    33 Push Ups
    40 Crunches
    36 Alternate Lunges
    82 Plank
    37 Jump Squats
  • Renee Lathwell
    19 Apr 2020
    11:05 PM


    Did some photos today and fitness test, will do my final weigh in on Wednesday... But compared today's photo with my final photo from the first challenge I did in 2014. I've been divorced since then, a single mum of three kids, survived a cyclone, moved house twice, worked full time, volunteered with St John at least 300hrs every year, got into a relationship, bought a house, became chair person for our St John Sub-centre... Had a pretty full-on life over the last 6 years - and that's before the mayhem of 2020 started. And I'm at the same spot I was 6 years ago, body wise. But this time it's not the end of a challenge. It's the start of a lifestyle. And. I. Can't. Wait!

  • Renee Lathwell
    9 Apr 2020
    11:22 PM


    Last year a St John paramedic went viral on facebook doing "the git up". I'm a volunteer in regional WA (not a paramedic), but I had heaps of people tag me in the video. I practiced the moves and love the song, but never felt comfortable doing it, was out of breath by the time I had to 'take a sip' and my uniform was tight would have ripped if I tried to 'take it down now, criss cross'. Tonight I finished a call out and caught myself in the mirror. My uniform is baggy, I can lift my legs without testing the crotch seams, and I'm feeling GOOD! I have dropped a couple more kg and upped my deadlifts to 80kg... And while I know I'm not going to have a ripped 6 pack in a weeks time, I am so proud of myself, how hard I've worked, and the progress I have made. I'm actually shocked to still be dropping kilos - I thought I'd had some muscle gains and the scales would go up, but no, still dropping. Onwards and upwards from here ❤

  • Renee Lathwell
    3 Apr 2020
    2:30 PM


    Flex Friday of week 10 - but I'm too chicken to put it on Facebook haha. Today is 14.3kg down since the start, but I feel like I'm only halfway to my goals. It's been a crazy 2 weeks of starting homeschooling 3 kids and being isolated. Stress has been through the roof, and Sunday night we got a pub feed takeaway and I pigged out on cheesy bacon garlic bread. Made sure I worked my ass off the next day though, and feel like its been my only "binge" since starting the challenge. I upped my deadlifts and RDLs yesterday to 50kg and threw in a set of sumo DL just for fun. Legit can't move my butt today. The pre-workout must have worked magic because I breezed through the workout and though "oh maybe I need to go heavier"... Today is pain. Took magnesium and everything. This mornings Upper Body 2 was great, though feel like I'm getting weaker as I'm struggling with the cable rows. When I shower now I feel muscle where it hasn't been before - I can feel it developing and feel my body changing, but I feel like I need to shred the excess fat before the muscle tone will be visible. I'm torn between feeling great about the 14+ kg I've lost, but also feeling frustrated and almost disappointed that I can't see my muscle progress in the mirror. I guess it's just my mindset that I need to change - the 12 week challenge is a kick-start, and I need to set some long term goals too.

  • Renee Lathwell
    22 Mar 2020
    3:07 PM


    13kg down. The week I was doing single arm DB rows with a 12kg kettlebell. It's lighter than the amount of weight I have lost since starting this challenge. Yesterday I did the tabata workout with my partner as part of the Max's challenge, so was a bit stiff today for the fitness test, but still beat my last one. This week I'm planning on doing some more running on the treadmill as the kids are with me, so around the block at 5am isn't an option. My new runners have arrived and I'm itching for a chance to use them... Maybe this arvo to burn of our celebratory breakfast :) In somewhat of a shocked state looking at my photos. I was hoping for good results and I've prided myself on sticking to the plan, but seeing my pictures side by side is still leaving me a bit dumbstruck, and it's only been 8 weeks!

    19 Burpees
    30 Push Ups
    35 Crunches
    30 Alternate Lunges
    72 Plank
    34 Jump Squats
  • Renee Lathwell
    17 Mar 2020
    2:34 PM


    The last two weeks have seemed to crawl along, but have hit all my workouts and squeezed in a trip to Perth - which included a little bit of indulging, but also a walk/run with the bestie around Bibra Lake. There hasn't been much difference on the scales but there's been subtle changes with my body and I'm not sure how much change will be evident next weekend when I check in. Overall the plateau has left me feeling bit flat, so I'm reviewing my supplements and have just ordered the Maxine's pre-workout. Otherwise I'm still upping my weight each week with the barbell, and focusing on my form to make sure I don't wipe myself out with an injury. Chiropractor also has magic hands! Love her work! A pilates class last night after Lower Body 1 yesterday morning was a real challenge, but feeling good today :)... Even did some lunges up the hallway at work today while no-one was watching, as a chance to have a stretch. I've also ordered some proper running shoes and I'm really looking forward to starting to run more, now that I've lost a bit of weight and its feeling easier and more loosey goosey. Lets see how that goes :)

  • Renee Lathwell
    4 Mar 2020
    11:58 AM


    Week 6 BOOM! Weighed in this morning. Basically one poo away from being in double digits. Yay. Also had a look-see at my Fitbit stats and my reduced resting heart rate made me happier than my scales. Knowing that my heart doesn't have to work so hard is better than my clothes being too tight! Another realisation I've had, was reflecting on the long weekend we just had. I spent the whole of Saturday pottering around and was ridiculously productive - and when I reflected back on it, it was that I had so much energy. Normally I'll get a couple of jobs done and have a nap, however this time, I didn't stop! For example I was doing stuff in one of the kids rooms and saw a hinge was loose - it was nothing for me to go out to the shed, get a drill, come back and fix it, whereas previously I'd add it to a mental todo list for 'next time I have the drill'... With Monday being a Public Holiday, I took my time with Lower Body 1 work out. I'd upped my barbell to 25kg, and really slowed down, seeing as I wasn't in a rush to get to work. Damn, that was 2 days ago and I'm still hurting... So maybe I need to set the alarm a bit earlier during the week to crank out the workouts and slow down a bit. Its been 2 days and I think I'll cry if someone mentions a walking lunge.

  • Renee Lathwell
    23 Feb 2020
    3:43 PM


    Week 4 Check in. Done. Bit of pain in my right lower back, so stopped during some of the fitness test to stretch. Otherwise, feeling amazing.

    16 Burpees
    28 Push Ups
    30 Crunches
    28 Alternate Lunges
    61 Plank
    27 Jump Squats
  • Renee Lathwell
    18 Feb 2020
    2:13 PM


    Today was meant to be LISS workout, but instead I did the Tabata workout with my other half on the Max's challenge. Both of us wrecked and sweaty after a solid 45 minutes on a sticky humid morning. Feeling great today though, and it was a good stretch after lower body sesh yesterday. According to fitbit my pulse barely got over 115bpm, so maybe it was LISS after all :) It was only his second proper workout since starting the challenge, and a tabata app made it so much easier! Really glad we're both in it together.

  • Renee Lathwell
    14 Feb 2020
    4:17 PM


    So back in 2018 I organised an Emergency Services Ball for our little town. I then spent a tad too much on a dress. When the dress arrived I couldn't do up the zip, so I hauled ass for 4 weeks and dropped a few kilos. 2 days before the ball I finally got the zip up... Then looking at photos afterwards, still felt like I still looked horrible. WELL TODAY I weighed in at the same weight as I did then... yet this time its not the final goal. Today is the start of my third week of an ongoing lifestyle. I have been thinking about the days after the challenge finishes, and there's nothing that I crave! I'm not thinking "I cant wait to eat icecream" or chips or anything... Maaaaaybe a pork roast with crackle... But I know that the food and exercise habits I'm in right now will continue and I will be able to have a snack, but in moderation - Instead of eating a litre of icecream in front of the tv when the spoon starts scraping the bottom of the empty container. Honestly can't wait to see where I am next week and the week after for the rest of the challenge.

  • Renee Lathwell
    10 Feb 2020
    9:31 PM


    I bought these shorts over a year ago because they were a decent length and "my size". Never got them higher than my under-butt. Today they fit, but the way it's going they be a size too big next week 😄

  • Renee Lathwell
    5 Feb 2020
    11:53 AM


    ONE WEEK! Down 3.9kg and feeling good - No idea where the weight went from? Maybe somewhere obscure where I wouldn't notice, like my toes or back or something. Even though I'm still stiff from Monday's workout and sunburnt to a crisp from yesterday, this morning's workout went so well & upper body feels good (apart from the sunburn of course). Squatting to use the toilet requires using a disabled toilet with handrails. *Note to self: Naps on the beach in Coral Bay are a bad choice.

  • Renee Lathwell
    4 Feb 2020
    11:00 PM

    Should have done the fitness test before the Monday work out. Dead.

    10 Burpees
    17 Push Ups
    23 Crunches
    17 Alternate Lunges
    34 Plank
    15 Jump Squats
  • Renee Lathwell
    4 Feb 2020
    12:06 AM


    Week 1 Day 6 First Workout Done! I have stuck to the meal plans, unfortunately been travelling so unable to do a workout until today. Travelled from Perth to Geraldton, then back to Carnarvon with the kids... The had interrupted sleep with callouts in the early hours of Sunday morning, followed by a big mass casualty exercise at the airport. But I jumped on the scales this morning and it MADE MY DAY!!! So motivated to kick my own butt, that just by eating right has made a difference, so exercise to is going to be amazing. Psyched for tomorrow. Now I've got my feet up waiting for the chicken to finish cooking in the weber for our dinner

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