F45: The Lowdown
I've heard a buzz about F45 for a while now, catching them pop up at fitness festivals and seeing (via Instagram) their classes attended by hard-core, grunting, gleaming and impossibly toned Aussies. Intimidating much?! I could have shrugged F45 off in some spate of insecurity as somewhere that the likes o me (haw haw) shouldn't be frequenting, but I got curious. Here's the Lowdown on F45 (hint, I really loved it).
FORMAT: According to the F45 website, "Functional Training is the engagement in exercises that mimic or recreate everyday movement. These types of exercises typically involve the use of your full body and multiple muscle groups. This style of training builds and sculpts lean, functional muscle – Lifting, Squatting, Jumping, Twisting, Pulling, Pushing, Punching, Kicking, Rowing, Biking – all of these movements qualify as “Functional”…and all can be found at F45 Training."
Riiiiiight. Let me try and explain. My experience in the three classes I went to was that F45 is an explosion of various exercises, each class changing per day but depending on whether you attend on a cardio day or resistance day (wish I had realised this before!). The format of all three classes I attended was slightly different each time but the gist is that there are pockets of exercises that you circle through for e.g. box jumps, then weighted squats, then kettle bell swings, for 45 seconds each maybe, before then moving on to another group of exercises. You tend to exercise in twos or threes, so you move around with the same person (aww, you might make a special workout fwend). The time per exercise, rest periods, number of groups and repetitions and exercises on offer changed each time I went. Rest assured, as I realise I've done a terrible job at explaining the format, there are screens at the front showing each move at every station, so you can't get lost mid class.
Apparently if you're a bit of a clever clogs super-fan, you can check out the Aussie F45 insta stories for a glimpse of what class is up next. Stealthy (/bit too keen?!)!
LENGTH: Classes are 45 minutes (clue's in the name) and they pass really, really quickly! Breaks are minimal, maybe between 10 and 20 seconds which gives you just enough time to move to your next session before the timer starts again.
HOW MANY PEOPLE: At a guess I would say there were about 30 peoples in the class. The main difference I noticed though between F45 and other studios, was that the instructors were ON you. I felt like I got attention from them at every single station, with them either singing words of encouragement in your ear or correcting your crappy form. That's a real plus point that really makes F45 stand out.
INSTRUCTORS: Two per class and with absolute bags of energy. Often Australian (that's the F45 origin) and bouncing off the walls, ready to help. And while we are at it, the staff are all ridiculously nice - like Pret nice you know. Receptionist Paris actually lent me a pair of socks from her own gym kit when I forgot mine. What a hero.
YOU WILL LIKE IT IF YOU LOVE: Possibly UN1T (I may be completely wrong because I've never been, but I've heard there are comparisons) or anything where you can get well sweaty to some big tunes. Maybe crossfit too.
SWEAT FACTOR: 4/5. There's really no respite in this class, in terms of breaks, but ultimately you can work as hard as you want to - 'aint nobody gonna shout in your face if you don't keep doing burpees for your segment.
VALUE FOR MONEY: £20 a class. London standard. Various price plans available including a £20 week free trial - bargain.
LOCATION: I went to Tottenham Court Road but these studios are popping up errywhere and, get this - EVEN OUTSIDE LONDON!
CHANGING ROOMS: Are fine, but not as fancy pants as other studios although they still had hair dryers, and the holy grail of women's changing rooms, hair straighteners. Having said that, F45 is a franchise group so I'm not sure if there are different standards per studio. Also, there are no lockers - I felt a bit uncomfortable leaving my phone and wallet in an unattended bag outside the studio...
THE VERDICT: The only negatives I can give the workout was the apparent lack of cool down - I only experienced one in two classes which were both the final classes of the day. In the other class, and in the ones I saw ending before mine, I don't think there was one. Same for the warm up, which although existent, was very quick and felt rushed.
That aside, I really loved my F45 experience and would really recommend it to anyone of any fitness level. So many London studios can give you a banging workout but F45 is unrivalled in my experience in terms of instructor attention and energy, and focus on form (which, in my view, is completely lost sometimes in the likes of Barry's, 1Rebel etc.). Also, jokes aside, it genuinely is a decent place to make friends as you do see the same faces and you do stick together with at least one other person for the whole workout - and you can give each other little high fives at the end which is always a winner.
Thanks for having me guys!
* I was kindly gifted a two week free trial by F45 - no review was expected and all opinions are my honest and own thoughts, as always.