A little bit of a different post from me today guys! One part of my blog that I want to build on is the Fitness aspect, because it’s a really positive part of my life, and also because I want to share my own workouts and experiences with YOU! Over the past 18 months I’ve gone from being a person who only did cardio-style workouts (mostly running or YouTube home workouts) to incorporating regular strength training into my week, trying new fitness classes (I’m now a spinning addict), and trying new forms of cardio-endurance workouts like swimming. My favourite type of workout overall is one where I get to lift heavy things, get my heart rate up and get a sweat on. And that dudes brings us to the focus of this post – my first F45 workout experience!
A few weeks ago, I got RIDICULOUSLY excited when I heard that F45 was coming to Dublin, and I knew I’d have to check it out for myself and for you guys too! F45, in case you haven’t heard of it, is a fitness movement that originated in Australia, and the concept behind it is ‘Functional Training’ (F = Functional, get it?) in a group-style workout. Functional refers to exercises that make use of your full body, and multiple muscle groups – challenging you to move and push your body in ways you might not think or know how to in your own workouts! F45 classes combine interval, cardiovascular and strength style training, so there’s something for everyone. And most importantly (in my opinion), its a class with big groups, so there’s plenty of people around you to keep you motivated! F45 originated in Australia, and now has a lot of gyms in the UK, which is how I came across it on social media. I loved the energy and positive vibes people seemed to get from the workouts, and figured it was only a matter of time before F45 would just HAVE to come to Dublin.
So the first F45 gym opened in Sandyford two weeks ago. Legends that they are, they offered a two week free trial to anyone who wanted to try out the classes before signing up to membership. Obviously I had the app downloaded and classes booked within about two seconds! I booked two Hollywood classes for two Saturdays mornings. I would have loved to have tried the other classes – with names like Athletica and Romans how could you not! Unfortunately with my work I wasn’t able to make Athletica or Romans classes during the weekdays but my friend and fellow blogger Vicky (@theflourishingpantry on Instagram, give her a cheeky follow guys!) tried both, and I’ve included a few lines from her experience of those classes! Simply because I was so excited to try F45, I started tagging them in my Instagram story, and one of the founders of F45 here, Brendan, got in touch. It was so cool to hear how he and the F45 gang have managed to get the movement set up here, and I loved their energy! You guys know I’m a big fan of good frickin’ vibes! So. Let’s get to the workout itself!
The Class – Hollywood
So here’s how F45 works – each class is approximately 45 minutes. You perform a number of exercises over that time, in a timed way – so for example, my Hollywood class consisted of 27 exercises, each performed for 40 seconds, followed by a 15 second rest, one after the other. After those 27 sets, we rested for 1 minute, and then it was straight back in for a second round of 27! In total, F45 has 27 different workout types, each with a different name, all consisting of 45 minute workouts. The F45 Sandyford free trial offered Hollywood, Athletica and Romans classes.
Hollywood is a fantastic class for anyone trying out F45 for the first time – it’s a combination of cardiovascular and strength training style exercises, and it was a different circuit of 27 exercises when I went the second time which was awesome! Here’s some examples of some of the exercises – kettlebell swings, dumbbell shoulder press, jump squats, prowlers, pull-ups, bike and rowing sprints, battle ropes, you name it, it was there! Each person does a different station for the time interval, and then you move on over the rest period. And if any of that sounds scary or umfamiliar, don’t be put off, seriously – the instructors in the class emphasise you just go at YOUR level, and they have lots of different weights for dumbells/kettlebells etc.
The Class – Athletica & Romans (by The Flourishing Pantry)
Compared to the fast and frenzied pace of Hollywood, my first Athletica class felt a bit repetitive. I’ve also tried Romans too which is similar in style (three pods of three exercises rotated 2-4 times) but with resistance rather than cardio exercises. I went to 7am classes weekdays which were perfect before work! And as I’ve got into it, I found the repetition actually gave me a chance to really hone technique and focus on working harder each time I came back to the same exercise. Depending on the mix of exercises (which vary every time) some sessions have been sweatier than others. But I love the variety and being in a little group with 1-2 other people doing the same thing was really positive. I felt I could benchmark myself against them (thinking to myself ‘they’re still going – I want to keep going!’), and we could encourage each other / share tips or just the pain with one another.
The Irish Balance Verdict
I LOVED IT! F45 was exactly the type of workout I thought it would be. It was challenging, fun, motivating, and above all a totally refreshing welcome change from my usual solo workouts or spin classes. The studio has a DJ set up for the class which is EPIC because we all know you need to tunes to keep powering through! The instructors were so lovely too – they demonstrate every exercise before you start, and they pop around during the class to remind you or help you with your form, and in a completely friendly way. It’s SO motivating to have a big group of people working out with you – it really does make you push yourself that bit harder seeing everyone else pumping it too!
The studios are pretty high tech – they have big screens which display images of the exercises performed so that if you forget your next station or what the proper technique is, you have it right there in front of you!
So should YOU try F45 out?
My answer is YES! You definitely should. Whether you’re new to exercise or keen to change up your routine, or you just want to have a bit of fun, F45 really does have something for everyone. You sign up to the F45 gym the same way you would a gym membership, but you can also pay per class too, and they have a very handy app and website set up to book in! And FYI, this is NOT any kind of sponsored post or ad. F45 isn’t the same price range as Ben Dunne or FlyeFit gyms over here, but I think that reflects how different it is to a standard gym, not to mention the higher tech side of the workout experience. You can pay per class OR sign up as a gym member. I signed up to a two week free trial to check F45 out, and I’m so glad I did. I wanted to post a review for you guys as the concept of F45 is very new to Dublin, and I love trying new fitness challenges anyway! Plus the greatest news is that there are further F45 gyms planned for Dublin – the IFSC, Grand Canal, Capel Street and Rathmines! Anyone reading this from the UK, I’d love you to leave a comment on this post of YOUR F45 experience!
So that’s it guys, I hope you enjoyed the first of hopefully many of my fitness blog posts! As always let me know your feedback, or share your F45 vibes with me – leave a comment here or on my Instagram or Twitter, or DM me (@theirishbalance, you know by now!) Here is a link to the F45 website if you want to check it out!
And don’t forget – if you want to vote for me in the Health Blog Awards, I’ve been shortlisted in the Best Irish Blog category! The link to vote is here if you have a minute to spare after reading this post!