F45 Training: The Newest Functional Fitness Class

Australia has given the world some pretty awesome stuff: koalas, Wi-Fi, boxed wine, Hugh Jackman. Now, fitness junkies worldwide have an even bigger reason to dig the land Down Under, and it’s called F45.

F45 is the latest workout trend to come out of Australia. (Image: Courtesy of F45 Training)

This Australian import group-fitness concept combines three of the most effective training styles in high-energy classes designed to torch fat and build lean muscle. Put down the vegemite sandwich — you’re going to want to get in on this one.

What Is F45 Training?

F45 classes are a mix of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), circuit training and functional training and are designed to help you burn fat, get stronger and improve your functional fitness (more on that below).

The classes are pre-formatted and rotated throughout the month, so you get a lot of variety each week. There are currently 31 workouts, all of which were created by the F45 Athletics and Peak Performance Department.

Each class has a name and a particular focus. For example, Firestorm is a high-intensity circuit workout with 54 stations and nearly nonstop movement. The Flamingo: Athletica workout is a 45-minute pure cardio session that can help you burn upwards of 800 calories. There are also partner workouts, such as 22, which is paired, “the infamous 1,000-calorie killer workout,” according to the F45 website.

The program also contains workouts solely geared toward functional training. For example, Gravity focuses on body-weight movements and involves minimal equipment with plenty of functional moves designed to improve mobility. Pipeline targets stability, balance and core strength so you can skillfully surf the breaks in Hawaii, or — not as adventurous — move furniture without throwing out your back.

What Is Functional Fitness?

While it’s cool to be able to press 200 pounds over your head or flip truck tires like a diner cook flips pancakes, when in real life are you going to need to do those things? Probably never.

The F in F45 stands for function. “Functional training helps provide you with the strength, stability and mobility to excel during your everyday life,” says Robert Deutsch, F45 founder and co-CEO. The emphasis in F45 is on training the body to perform well, both in the gym and outside of it.

“Functional exercises mimic or re-create everyday movement like pushing, pulling, hinging, squatting, jumping, biking,” says Deutsch. While you’ll use weights in the form of dumbbells, kettlebells and barbells, you won’t be doing Olympic lifts or be pushed to lift an amount of weight that doesn’t match your fitness level and goals.

F45 is a functional fitness class, meaning you can take the skills and strength from class into your everyday life. (Image: Courtesy of F45 Training)

What to Expect in an F45 Class

Most classes are 45 minutes in length — just long enough to get a butt-kicking, total-body workout, but short enough for busy people who don’t have hours and hours to spend at the gym. While time is used efficiently, instruction and fun are also part of the plan.

“We always start with an introduction that welcomes new members, then we explain the format of the class and demonstrate all the exercises in the session,” says Tara Teakle, co-owner of F45 Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York. “Then we add in some pumping tunes, warm up together to prepare everyone’s body for the class and the session is away.”

After a warmup, you’ll move from station to station, performing a different exercise at each. “Every studio offers the same class at different times throughout the day, but that workout is never repeated, thanks to our F45 Athletics and Peak Performance Department, who have a database of over 3,500 exercises they pull from,” says Deutsch. Some of the exercises you might do in a session include:

  • Push-ups with a resistance band
  • Kettlebell lunges
  • Sled pulls
  • One-arm shoulder press
  • Stability-ball bench press
  • Lunge with military press
  • Squat with barbell

You’ll also work with some unique equipment you may not have used before, such as battle ropes. Although you don’t have to have any experience to participate in F45, you do need to have an open mind and a readiness to try new things.

Is F45 Training for Everyone?

If all of that sounds pretty intimidating, don’t stress. F45 classes are made for people of all fitness levels, from beginners to athletes. “That’s one of the great things about F45: Every exercise can be regressed or progressed to suit individual needs. All of our trainers undergo specific training and are experts in modifying these exercises to suit every client,” says Teakle.

Even if you have physical limitations, you can participate. “There are always multiple trainers on the floor, so whether members are restricted by an injury, haven’t trained in a while or are preparing for an elite sporting competition, our expert trainers are there to guide and challenge every person in the class,” Teakle says.

If you’re on the fence and feeling a little nervous about trying it out, Teakle says don’t be. “F45 is about community and having fun. After all, our motto is ‘team training — life changing.’”

Keep your heart rate monitor on during an F45 workout to see just how many calories you burn. (Image: Courtesy of F45 Training)

Calories Burned During an F45 Class

“In any of our classes, you can burn 500 to 800 calories in 45 minutes,” says Deutsch. Of course, calorie burning depends on a number of factors, including your gender, age, weight, fitness level and genetics. Ultimately, it comes down to the effort you put in. The harder you work in each class, the more calories you’ll burn.

You can use the F45 LionHeart wireless heart rate monitors to track your workout. “At the end of your workout, you will receive an email with a recap, including calories, heart rate and point score,” Deutsch says. “Our heart rate monitor is also linked to our F45 TVs in studio, so you can track your heart rate during your workout!”

How to Make the Most of F45 Workouts

F45 training is challenging, so you need to prepare your body before class and take care of it after the workout. “Before you come for class, we recommend you are ready and energetic to go. Whether that’s a good nights sleep, pre-workout supplement, new workout attire to help you feel your best, this varies between individuals,” says Deutsch.

He also recommends taking advantage of the LionHeart monitors to track your workout. This, along with the motivation and coaching from the F45 instructors, can help keep you motivated and on target with your goals.

Proper rest and hydration between sessions are also key to fast recovery and better performance. “After class we always suggest a good stretch, lots of hydration and to get in a healthy, high-protein meal within 45minutes,” Deutsch says.

Find an F45 Training Location Near You

From a single facility in Sydney, Australia, in 2012 to more than 1,300 locations in 36 countries worldwide today, F45 is one of the fastest-growing fitness franchises — with more locations opening all the time.

If you live in a major city, chances are there is at least one F45 location near you, if not more. To get started, head to the F45 website to find your closest studio. Curious about the workout? The studio offers a free trial for those interested.

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