Time for a Friday Focus on FITNESS guys! If you follow my blog or Instagram, you’ll have seen my recent review of my first F45 Training classes a couple of weeks ago, and you’ll know that I absolutely loved it! It was so much fun to try out a new class, meet new people, and of course, take a few selfies and write about my positive experience! Similarly, when I went to Wellfest in May this year I decided to write a little bit about my weekend there, purely because it was such an epic couple of days, and I think the more we share these new fitness/wellness/health events with each other, the more awareness we can spread about how FUN trying new ways of getting fit can be, and show people the wide range of exercise options out there to get us moving.
Recently, the guys at FFS Gym (FFS stands for Fitter Faster Stronger) on Leeson Street in Dublin contacted me, and asked would I be interested in trying out a couple of their classes and writing a review of my experiences. Big thanks to Mike and the gang at FFS for this! The classes I tried were an Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga class, and a Metabolic Conditioning class. As terrified as the nick-name ‘Met-Con’ sounded, I thought, why not, let’s do this! So last week, I took two evenings after work and hit up FFS Gym, and now I’m sharing how it went with you! I’ll give you a little back-story to FFS Gym first. FFS, like I mentioned above, stands for Fitter Faster Stronger and is a gym/training facility on Leeson Street in Dublin. You can check out their website by clicking here, and they also have a great Instagram page for both the gym (@ffsgym) AND a nutrition site (@ffs_nutrition) with frequent recipe videos that are drool-worthy! FFS have a great range of classes, with names like Metabolic Conditioning, Suspension and Bodyweight Training, Bodyweight Blitz, and Strength and Conditioning. The ethos of FFS is to make exercise enjoyable, to cater for all ranges of fitness levels, and get you working out in an environment that’s encouraging as opposed to intimidating, with regular feedback and coaching too! So, how did I find it?
Class #1: Ashtanga Yoga
The first class I tried was an Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga class. FFS have recently launched regular yoga classes at their gym. As you guys know, my workout routine for a typical week doesn’t include regular yoga or pilates, but I have been to yoga classes before, and I’m really keen to start incorporating both yoga and pilates into my week. So this class was perfectly timed, even if I was little nervous given I’m VERY inflexible (I can’t even tumble!) and not very experienced. However, there was no need for nerves. The class was very small – four of us plus the instructor Jane, who was really lovely, and explained everything on a very basic level as we moved through the class, as well as correcting any posture mishaps I was experiencing! Jane explained that Ashtanga means ‘eight-limbed’ in Sanskrit, while Vinyasa means ‘to place in a special way’, and that this style of yoga is based on dynamic flow from posture to posture, co-ordinated with the movements of the breath.
Guys, the class was incredible. I had come from a busy day on the wards, and this was exactly what I needed to switch off completely. We spent the first few minutes practising breathing techniques before beginning the class sequence, which was really helpful as it’s something you really have to focus on throughout the class as you change postures. In total, it was an hour long class, which Jane talked us through the whole way, speaking in Sanskrit to count our breaths and let us know the names of each new posture we moved into. Because you have to focus on your inhale/exhale cycle as you move and hold positions, it is almost impossible to do anything BUT switch off, and just let yourself be present. I found some poses a lot more challenging than others, but Jane explained modifications for beginner, intermediate and advance yogis at each stage. Despite being a newbie yogi, I couldn’t have felt more at ease in the class, and I really feel like I learnt a lot from going too, simple poses and sequences I can practice at home, for example!
Class #2: Metabolic Conditioning
So Met-Con (as it’s nick-named) was the second class I tried at FFS gym. I had heard it was a serious workout from a friend who’s an FFS member, and she had also told me it was right up my fitness street, so I was both excited and apprehensive as I made my way there from work! My typical workouts in a week involve a combination of strength, cardiovascular/endurance and H.I.I.T./Tabata style training, so I figured I should MAYBE be somewhat well equipped to handle the class…
Well, Met-Con was a total win as well guys, I absolutely loved it! There were three instructors for my class and all were super sound, introducing everyone to everyone, which was great for me especially as it was my first visit, so getting chatting to those around me broke the ice nicely! We kicked off with a warm-up mobility sequence of different exercise intervals of 50 seconds on, 10 seconds off (which we repeated twice), followed by the session itself. The workout was divided into three stations – cardio, strength and bodyweight. One instructor stayed at each station, and each station was made up of five different intervals of 30 seconds on, 10 seconds rest, and you repeated the cycle of five twice before moving on.
What I loved most about this class was the level of feedback each of us got during and after the workout, and the serious group motivation and encouragement I felt throughout the session. Each exercise was explained and demonstrated to us by the guys before we started, and they would (in a friendly way!) correct any form issues you developed the more tired you got as the workout progressed. At the end of each station, each of the guys gave feedback on how the group did as a whole, both positive and constructive critique, and set goals for the next group moving on!
The cardio intervals were DEFINITELY the toughest, including rowing and assault bike intervals. The strength station used TRX ropes, resistance bands and dumbells for the exercises, while the bodyweight station comprised movements like bear crawls, mountain climbers, jump squats and static lunges. For anyone who was carrying a niggle, or maybe just new to a particular movement, the guys had modifications you could use too! It was a great sweat, and each of us were at a different fitness level, and that didn’t matter – the goal of the class was to challenge YOUR best, work hard, and focus on nailing your form for each exercise.
Final verdict? A1. I loved both classes – they were such different experiences, and both pushed me out of my comfort zone, which is how we challenge ourselves! The guys at FFS gym have various different memberships on offer, with slight variations in the classes and coaching you get depending on the memebership you buy. Right now, I’ve got a gym right beside my hospital outside of the city centre, which I’m sticking with for now due to my working hours and convenience! But I was absolutely hooked by the FFS experience – it was positive, motivating, fun and challenging, and most importantly there’s a range of classes available, now including Yoga too!
If you’ve ever checked out FFS gym, or tried similar classes to those I did in your own gym, leave a comment here or on my Instagram or Twitter (@theirishbalance), let me know what you thought! Big thanks again to Mike and the guys at FFS for giving me this opportunity, it was fantastic! Namaste people 🙂
Ciara 🙂 x