I’ve mentioned F45 in my list of things that got me through triathlon training. Last summer, I used it as my one non swim/bike/run workout throughout the week and it was something that I really looked forward to.
Since then, I’ve taken, well…a LOT of F45 classes and cannot stop telling everyone I know about all the reasons I think it’s amazing.
And naturally I want to tell everyone on the internet how amazing I think it is too. Because F45 isn’t just a boutique studio in NYC…it’s worldwide (the Pitbull of fitness you could say).
And in fact, it’s one of the fastest growing fitness franchises in the world right now. What started as one gym in Sydney in 2013 has grown to over 850 studios in 22 different countries and “coming soon” locations popping up constantly. So why are so many people drinking the F45 Kool Aid?
VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE
The F45 workouts are constantly changing in structure and format though they are always interval based. You’ll never be told to perform a certain amount of reps - instead, you’ll be given an amount of time to “work” and another amount of time to “rest.”
Some days you’ll work for :45, rest for :20. Other days you’ll work for :20, rest for :10. Some days you’ll stay at one station for 4 sets and other days you’ll switch after each interval. Some days you do 2 loops of the room and other days you do loops of “pods” before moving on.
At minimum, you’ll spend the class rotating between 9 different exercises but on some days you could have 20+ different stations. This variety keeps class moving and by the time you know it, you’re finished!
The great thing about going for time is that everyone is working and resting at the same time and no one feels like they’re being left behind. Within the work interval, it’s up to the individual how hard they push themselves, how heavy they lift, how many reps they complete, etc.
CONSISTENCY IS KEY
No F45 class will ever feel the same, but at the same time, any F45 class you walk into, will feel the same. Is that confusing? F45 has done a great job marketing and creating a cohesive brand throughout all of its different franchise locations. From the same color scheme, class format, gym layouts, equipment, etc. there is no mistaking an F45 gym.
Every day, every F45 gym does the same workout. That means your friend in Canada (hi, Maggie!) and your friend in Denver (hi, Sabrina!) is doing the same workout as you on any given day. This gives a really cool sense of community, especially when you add in the social media aspect of everyone talking about the days’ workout. And if you’re like me, you’ll creep on the Australian’s F45 Instagram accounts for a sneak peak before class ;)
Each class is run the same way - first, one instructor talks through the workout and each exercise while the other instructor (more on that later) demos the exercise (usually with a modification or an added challenge). Then, there’s a 2 minute or so warm up before getting down to business. Most classes end up being about 36 minutes of hard, active work time.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday are cardio days with Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday as strength/resistance days. Saturday’s are an hour-long everything workout that’s fast-paced and so fun!
TWO HEADS ARE BETTER THAN ONE
Each class has two instructors, which means more one-on-one time with trainers than almost any other class I’ve been to. The instructors are constantly walking around the room giving pointers, correcting form, helping with modifications, and pushing you to keep going.
The trainers at my F45 are a huge reason I keep coming back - they are super knowledgeable and know when to challenge you/push you. While they’re happy to help with modifications and encourage anyone to modify instead of sacrificing form, they’re also just as happy to make any given exercise harder. 2 minute plank? Try it with a 10 pound plate on your back. Deadlifting with the lightest kettlebells? They will come over and sass you when they know you can go heavier. Toe taps on a box? They will come stand next to you and do it faster so that you push yourself to go faster too!
LEARNING NEW THINGS
As of 2017, F45 has 3,800 different exercises in it’s arsenal - and every 3 months they add 250 new ones. That’s a LOT of different exercises. They employ trainers whose job is to develop new exercises and it’s always a nice surprise when a new one is thrown into a class.
Yesterday, instead of the typical box jump, we had to jump OVER the box (my heart rate immediately spiked out of pure fear and adrenaline).
PLAYING WITH TOYS
Any given F45 class uses a huge array of fitness equipment. There’s a ton of body weight and plyometric moves on cardio days, but cardio and strength days also implement sleds, TRX, boxes, sledgehammers, slam balls, medicine balls, REVO bars, Bosu balls, kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, battle ropes, rowers, bikes, sliders, ladders, hurdles, soft boxes, sandbags, plates, stability balls, pull up bars, run track and bands. Seriously - SO MUCH FUN. There’s even a workout that implements boxing! Complete with boxing gloves and strike shields.
What’s so impressive to me is that all of that equipment really does get worked into the workouts on a regular basis and in such innovative and unique ways. One day you’re using the sandbag to do a deadlift —> clean —> squat jump —> burpee and the next you’re using it to lunge and twist.
And after every class, I watch with my own eyes, as every piece of equipment is sprayed and wiped down for the next group.
While we’re on the topic of equipment - I always try to get to class early so I can use the foam rollers and mobility ball. And there’s always a post-class stretch which I’ve found to be skimmed over at far too many gyms.
F45 has quite a few high-tech aspects to it as well.
First, you’ll notice the TV screens around the gyms. These show the exercises being done at each station in case you ever forget what you’re supposed to be doing - and other screens will display the countdown clocks and rest times. Still other screens illustrate the flow of class, when you should move stations, how many sets you have left, etc. It makes things pretty fool-proof.
The other high-tech component is F45’s heart rate monitor system called Lion Heart. You usually get one of these if you sign up for a membership or one of their “8 Week Challenges” which includes 8 weeks of unlimited classes, meal plans and weigh-ins/body scans.
Once you register your Lion Heart monitor online, it immediately recognizes you when you walk in the studio - which I still think is pretty awesome! Screens around the studio will show your heart rate and “points” during class (you earn points for keeping your heart rate elevated at a certain level throughout class) and immediately following your workout you’ll be emailed a nice little graphic that shows how many calories you burned, a chart of your heart rate during the 45 minutes, the name of the workout, etc. It’s super shareable on social media - I’m definitely guilty of adding mine to my Insta story on a daily basis.
Did I mention that Saturday’s hour-long Hollywood class has a live DJ? And that, in general, the playlists are LIT?
F45 is an expensive habit, I will admit. I’ve never spent this much on fitness in my life - I was always a proponent of paying a cheap gym membership and coming up with my own workouts. But the community of F45 has me hooked and I just can’t stop!
At the end of every class there are high fives and “good jobs!” There’s an incredibly friendly group of people that show up every day, usually at the same times, so you get used to seeing people and it holds you accountable - they’ll notice if you’re not there!
F45 stands for function training (and classes are 45 minutes). Their slogan is “team training, life changing.” There really is a focus on everyone in a given class being on a team and it’s not uncommon for people working in the same station as you to give a little “we got this” or “10 seconds left come on!” You get the sense that everyone is there to help each other be better.
And it’s not like a lot of other fitness classes I’ve been to that are super cliquey or antisocial. Everyone is always asking how your day was, what you’re up to this weekend, and even getting together for post-workout activities.
I read a quote from co-founder Rob Deutsch where he said people that go to F45 are, “People who love their health and fitness, but who want to strike a balance - who will most likely enjoy a glass of wine at the weekend.” AMEN. Those are my kinda people. He also said, “We see the fitness sector growing exponentially as people begin to choose this over other social activities. It’s on-track to become a vehicle that reconnects people and creates community.” And at least at the Lower East Side location in NYC - that couldn’t be more true.
Most F45’s have really great intro rates (in NYC it’s three for the price of one for your first classes and a lot of other cities have a free into week!) and if you join a brand new F45 location you’ll typically get “founding member” rates which can be a huge savings!
I’m not getting paid to write this (but yo, F45 corporate, hook it up?) - but I genuinely think it’s a great, challenging workout that a lot of people would enjoy!
If you go to a class, let me know what you think :)