I ain’t taking cash payments for these reviews.
The good. The bad. The down-right ugly: F45.
F45 is a 45-minute circuit-based workout. This means there is a bunch of stations where you spend a particular amount of time exercising before you move to the next station. The working time and rest time varies from day-to-day as does the style of training. For example, Monday, Wednesday &Friday is cardio based training, Tuesday & Thursday is strength based and Saturday is a mix of cardio & strength training.
Hate thinking? No problem. Rock up to an F45 class, do the workout they tell you to do, go home. I think that is the biggest selling point of an F45 workout, you don’t have to figure out what to do. Even if you have limited knowledge of exercises most movements at F45 are relatively simple to pick up. Because the workout is time based, rather than repetition based, you do what you can in the time allocated and then the group collectively moves to the next station. Time-based training is equally awesome for beginners and fitness freaks alike: let’s say one of the stations is 35-seconds to do push ups: you do 5-turtle-paced-push-ups-on-your-knees. Fine. The person next to you can bang out 30 like they came out of a text-book for push-ups. Also fine. But you all move to the next station at the same time.
The 45-minute time-frame is also a winner; time seems to (mostly) whizz by as you are constantly moving and changing exercises. Before you know it you are out of there. Speaking of there – F45s are everywhere (metro mostly), so convenience of location gets a thumbs up, as well as the class times, with back-to-back classes at peak times of the day.
Even though F45 gives the different classes on offer fun names (Hollywood, Pipeline, Wingman) over time the days and workouts blend into each other and feel the same-same and eventually you will cotton on to the fact you are doing a circuit every-damn-day. And this doesn’t just go for F45, but I’m a believer in variety: if you have been doing the same thing for years and you’re bored shitless, or you have plateaued strength/fitness wise it’s time to move on. Just have a plan in place. I’ve seen too many people leave F45 for the aforementioned reasons, have no plan of what to do next, then end up going back to the very merry-go-round they were so bored of not that long ago.
Trust me – there are plenty of other fitness activities that don’t require you to think.
The timing on each exercise can be quite limiting in a class(you are rarely on a station for more than one minute). If you want to perfect form on a lifting technique for example, you might only be able to complete 5-repetitions on a particular exercise. Hardly enough time to embed a technique and (unless you are doing crazy heavy weights) not enough repetition to get a workout. The timing can also be an issue when you have a very short amount of time to move on to the next station. By the time you get to the next station, potentially change weights, figure out/remember what exercise you are meant to be doing you have lost half the workout time.
The down-right ugly
The standard of trainers at F45 ranges from Fucking Awful Cheerleader to Seriously Brilliant Trainer. For the top dollar you pay for F45, you should insist on the brilliant end of the scale (and if not – you should go elsewhere, even to the F45 down the road).
Equipment at F45 is also seriously questionable. Again, relative to the membership price you are/will be paying, you should expect clean, intact, safe equipment and facilities. Often – it’s anything but. And speaking of facilities, the physical size of F45s varies widely – some are luxuriously spaced so you can comfortably perform exercises safely while others are so claustrophobic, a poorly timed squat could land you in someone’s lap.
F45 is one of the most pricey options on the fitness market, you need to question whether you are getting what you pay for (upward of $70/week). If the convenience of F45 means you are motivated to turn up most days, and despite lackluster trainers and facilities, I actually think that is value for money. Just know though there is a fuck-tonne of competition out there (even neighbouring F45s) for you to consider.