Confession time. I’m not very good at remembering to add cardio into my training schedule. Tell me to get in the weights room five days a week and I’ll be there before you can blink, but tell me to add in two 30 minute HIIT sessions and I’ll resort to a toddler-esque strop. But when the opportunity came up to do a trial week at F45 Tottenham Court Road I decided to go for it. I mean, maybe a class situation would help stop the tantrums right?
So off I took myself to my first class. Bear in mind here, I’m normally really happily on my own in the gym picking up and putting down heavy stuff, grunting the occasional “good morning” or “have a nice day” to the same early morning faces day in day out. Walking into a class situation actually terrified me and I waited outside the studio awaiting the start of ‘Panthers’ with some apprehension. That apprehension only grew as the very enthusiastic instructors gave us a whirlwind tour of the 14 resistance stations we were going to face over the next 45 minutes…
I got a little confused following the circuit first time round. Fortunately, Dottie, one of the instructors was on hand to get me back on track, and the screens at the front of the class were a helpful touch for whenever I forgot whatever I was supposed to be doing next. Before I knew it I just was whole-heartedly throwing myself into the class, getting on with everything from deadlifts to barbell rows. Yes, I know I said I wanted cardio so it might seem a little odd that I started off with a resistance class, but you have to understand this was so different to the kind of training I usually do. Each station followed a system of 30seconds on, 20seconds off and was done for 3 sets before moving onto the next. It was intense.
Each class at F45 follows a similar format over 45minutes, but broken down in different ways. Renegade on Thursday for example was divided up over ‘pods’ of three exercises and you had to complete the pod twice before moving on. Again, a so-called resistance session but I had a serious sweat going on by the end!
On Friday I got my cardio initiation at Foxtrot, and oh my was it cardio. Think 12 stations to complete – including the likes of the rowing machine, spin bikes, burpees and jumping prisoner squats – with an initial 45 seconds on 15 seconds off, followed by 20 seconds on 10 seconds off…before repeat again. I mean, I think I’m fit, but clearly not HIIT fit! I was still red in the face by the time I got home to the boy 40 minutes later. Saturday morning was another intense cardio session, this time over an hour. Thank god for the live DJ playing some serious motivation tunes to keep me going over that time.
Every single one of the sessions I attended seriously put me through my paces, but amazingly, seemed to fly by. The vibe of the classes was truly epic too, everyone was there to work their hardest and sympathise with how killer it was. As someone who ordinarily works out alone the camaraderie was really welcome. I also loved (and kind of hated) that Dottie was not going to let me get away with any slacking. Nervous about the high intensity I went a fair bit lower on weights than I would ordinarily and she was having none of it. That personal attention in a class of so many really took me by surprise – I’ve always been wary of classes because of it, and it was great to see consistent form checks and corrections, encouragement, and yes, being yelled at to lift more weight.
Overall, F45 was an incredibly fun challenge. It totally kicked my butt. You should go and get your butt kicked too – trial weeks are available for only £20 and there are various membership options from there. Let me know how you get on!
Have you tried something like F45 before? Are there any classes in London you love that you think I’ll love too? I’m totally hooked to the class vibe now!