LIFESTYLE – Workouts from the land down under

FITNESS can be as addictive. Releasing the same endorphin rush and dopamine high as a glass of bubbles or a shopping spree. I know people who have signed up to Cross Fit and have been sucked into it’s cult-like world. Starting and finishing each day with a session in ‘The Box’.Their bodies look amazing, transformed into lithe warrior princesses and hulking gladiators, but the lifestyle seems intense, their social lives taken over with competitions and Crossfit socials.

As well as being intimated by these superhero beings, it seems like a lot of work and lifestyle overhaul rather than just a habitual change. There must be a simpler way… Enter F45. It’s like Crossfit’s hot little brother, who’s a bit keen and eager to impress. The phenomenon started in Down Under, in Australia, and has spread like wildfire worldwide.

Its method is simple and effective – my favourite type of exercise.
Sessions are just 45 minutes long, the clue is in the name, and work on HIIT basis – so burn fat like there’s no tomorrow. There’s cardio, strength training and 31 different workouts on rotation so your body never gets used to it – with a pick n mix of hipster names from Hollywood and Brixton to Moon Hopper and Play-Offs. Saturdays are a treat with a bumper 60-minute session AND a DJ in the class. Fun.

There are dozens of F45 sites opening up all over London, so wherever your neighbourhood, from Peckham to Stratford you should be able to find one.
The closest branch to my office was in London Bridge and I found the team really helpful and positive. As well as having showers, with lockers, hair dryers and straighteners it also offers workout and shower towels, free of charge, a luxury that many gyms are starting to charge for now.

My favourite feature to the circuit training style workout, which are demo’d at the start of each class, are the genius screens on the walls with videos showing you what to do at each station. Alas, I am terrible at forgetting my moves in during exercise sessions, so this makes life so much easier and mean that the instructors don’t have to answer endless questions.
The saviour screens also crucially show the stage in the workout that you’re at in a graph – so you can track your progress without clock-watching. It’s great to have a goal.

Interestingly there are no mirrors in the room – perhaps they are a distraction, sometimes I find then helpful in correcting my form and perfecting a set.
Instructors, who are mostly Aussie call you ‘Mate’ a lot, which leads to an inclusive atmosphere and you not only get used to the high-fiving, but you start to instigate it with fellow participants. After four sessions a week I notice a distinct change in my body and decide F45, with it’s functional, effective method, could easily become my gym of choice.

Plus the Australian positivity is contagious and I even found myself saying ‘G’Day’ to colleagues when I get into the office. I’m hooked.

Hannah, Heart London Magzine