Looking to shake up your usual HIIT session? We tried out F45, the Australian team-based workout all Londoners are queuing up for. Here’s our verdict…
Venue: F45 Wandsworth
Location: Wandsworth, SW18 2QB
Blowout or budget: First timers can take advantage of 7 days for £20. Afterwards you can pay £25 per class or purchase bundle packages
F45, short for Functional 45, is a programme founded by Australian trainer Luke Istomin and is based on high-intensity group training also known as HIIT. Each session is timed with 45 seconds on and 15 seconds off. The classes are fast paced and incorporate elements of HIIT, circuit and functional training.
There are 27 unique programs at F45 (with even more in development) and it’s the variation that keeps you coming back for more. From paired cardio and resistance classes to boxing and obstacle workouts there’s something for everyone. And to make things even cooler, everyone does the same class on the same day all around the world!
It took us a while to pluck up the courage to visit an F45 studio because we’d heard it was one of the hardest workouts out there. But with its winning formula of motivation + innovation = results and the fact that no workout is ever repeated we had to give it a go. With sweat, fun and team training the aim of the game it’s easy to see why F45 has such a huge following.
ATHLETICA: the all-rounder
With promises to rid yourself of 820 calories we decided to try the Athletica class. The 45-minute cardio session helps you get leaner, agile and faster so prepare for lots of sweat and to be gasping for air by the end!
Beginning with 45-second sprints on the spin bike it quickly became clear there was no turning back. Vanessa and I steadily worked our way from station to station tackling jump lunges, rowing, skipping, star jumps, kettle bells and TRX – all the while trying to have a natter and perfect our form (easier said than done!)
Our trainer Lee was on hand to push us through each phase of the workout and remind us what station was coming next. There are large countdown screens dotted around the studio and handy video demos for those (like us) who lose the plot along the way!
While some stations are simpler than others, heaving a 12kg sledgehammer-shaped weight above our heads proved to be a new challenge! Luckily the exercise bursts are short and sharp so we didn’t have time to glance at the clock or get distracted. The class was over in a flash and despite being drenched in sweat, with steam rising from our bodies, we couldn’t quite believe how fast 45 minutes had gone.
Unlike working out on your own in the gym, the sheer variety of movements deters from any boredom setting in. One minute you’re skipping and then it’s onto bear crawls, gorilla jumps or battle ropes – there’s no time to stop and think! It’s also a great way to meet new people as you work your way around the circuit in teams, making for a super sociable atmosphere.
F45 is comparable with the likes of 1Rebel and Barry’s Bootcamp but there’s a stronger emphasis on the ‘team’ element. Unlike other workouts there’s a real sense of unity and group fun. Each class has between 10-20 people and the trainers are quick to address everyone by their names from the get-go making your workout feel personal.
Change doesn’t happen when you’re in your comfort zone right? So why not try a class? Break your routine and see what you’re truly capable of. Embrace the burn and you’ll leave on a serious endorphin high!
Need a fall into a plate of pancakes after?
Just around the corner from F45 Wandsworth, Café Fleur is perfect for a post-class treat. We went for The Fleur Bubble (pictured above). A generous portion of sweet potato bubble n squeak, topped with a free-range poached egg and homemade hollandaise sauce, served with a side of veggies and feta – it’s SO tasty you’ll want seconds. They also offer a selection of Gluten free recipes, cakes, pastries and scrummy-looking custard tarts.