F45 is hardcore, but I'm hooked. It's taken me a while to step foot into one of the studios because I'd heard that it was the toughest workout you'll ever do. Called F45 (short for function 45), it's a 45-minute, high-intensity, circuit-style class.
I'm not going to lie, it's intense but there is something so addictive in the fact that the class moves at lightning speed, and you have no time to think, you just have to move. I've been to six classes now, and every single one finished in what felt like 30 minutes. I've sweat buckets each time and felt that exercise high that had me wanting to bulk buy classes on my credit card. That's the thing with F45: It's addictive. The proof is that there are over 140 studios in and around Sydney, the city from where the brand hails. I spoke to my friend Rachael in Manly who told me they're like Pret, "there's one one every corner." I asked whether she had been, and she explained, "Imagine everyone in your class, but with a tan and even more of a six pack. It's competitive, I'll stick with yoga."
The thing is getting lean and dropping fat, which is essentially impossible not to do if you join F45, seriously appeals to me. And much like Sydney, it won't be long before there's an F45 near you. The brand has plans to franchise in Dublin, Birmingham, Brighton, and open more studios in London. So what's it all about? Keep scrolling to find out what happens in an F45 class and how it will reshape your body in no time.
F45's winning formula of high-intensity, interval training–style circuits has turned casual gym goers into bona fide F45 fangirls. In each class, the trainers demo each station before the warm-up. During the class you move quickly through exercises, spending about 30 to 40 seconds at each station while large screens count down the time as gif-style graphics clearly demonstrate the movements required at the station (a godsend for anyone like me with a terrible memory). The variety helps deter boredom too: One minute you could doing burpees with a bosu ball, and the next you might be sprinting on a static bike.
There are several different classes on the schedule. Some include a DJ while others feature more of a strength workout (fewer stations and heavier weights).
I spoke with one PR friend who has also been going to F45 in Tottenham Court Road, and while she enjoys it, she also finds that since the class is so fast-paced, her form isn't always its best. The trainers circulate around the room and correct where they can, but it helps if you have some experience of circuit training. Another thing about F45 is that you're often working in stations with other people, and it feels super social, which is another reason it's become so popular. It's somewhere people can belong.
So why does F45 have such a cult following? Put simply: it works. I booked in for six classes in a little over a week. That sounds like a lot, but not once did it feel like a chore. In fact, on the days when I'd clocked up a session first thing, I'd find myself wishing I had another class to look forward to in the evening. It's weirdly addictive. After the six sessions, I dropped four pounds and could see a little hint of definition on my abs, I felt leaner, stronger and fitter. Rob Deutsch, F45's founder, told Byrdie UK that it's not uncommon for class attendees to burn up to 750 calories in a session. That's an impressive bang for your buck.
I'm a total convert to F45, but that's not to say I won't be heading back to Kobox or lifting heavy in the gym but I've found a full-body HIIT class I really enjoy.
Like most good things, F45 memberships aren't cheap: You can try seven days for £20 but after that, it's £25 per class, five for £120 or 10 for £200. Alternatively, you can sign up for a monthly membership if F45 is set to be your only form of exercise. A three-month membership paid in full is £600.
Amy Costello, co-owner of F45 Tottenham Court Road told me, "Our members have seen drastic results from committing to just three sessions weekly. F45 is designed to both decrease body fat and increase lean muscle mass, so measuring body composition as opposed to weight loss is more accurate for our members, in order to determine their muscle, fat and bone density.
"In just four weeks, we've seen an average of a 6% decrease in overall body fat percentage and a 2.5kg increase in muscle mass from members that participate in F45 on a regular basis. It's incredible to see so many members smashing their goals and achieving things they never thought possible, in such a short period of time."
Yes, it's pricey as hell, but if you're looking to transform your body, well, the results speak for themselves.