Australia-based F45 is currently the world’s fastest-growing functional training network, with 750 franchises in 26 countries globally. They opened their first location in New York in April 2017, and the studio has had a fair amount of buzz since, with members claiming to have achieved drastic results in as little as 1-2 weeks. They’ve had so much success here that the franchise openers are expanding to the Lower East Side later this year. So, of course, I had to try it. While I’m not as big a fan as some of its staunchest advocates in the city, I definitely see the appeal and would recommend it to any functional training lover looking for a new fitness home.
QUALITY OF f45 mkatz WORKOUT: 7.5
As one of the trainers explained to me at the beginning of class, F45 offers cardio classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and strength workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays. During the weekend, they offer a popular hour-long “Hollywood” workout that typically fills up well in advance.
The studio is organized in a classic circuit type of setting, and the workout changes every day. We were encouraged to lift heavy and really get into the movements. However, this was a bit difficult, as the sets were rather short. After a demonstration and brief warm-up, the workout consisted of nine exercises with three sets each, performed twice. The first set was 35 seconds with a 10-second break, the second was 20-seconds with a 10-second break, and the last was 20 seconds with a 20-second break. We closed it out with a two-minute plank. Today’s workout was:
- Seated chest press
- Goblet or racked kettlebell squat
- Bent over row with a barbell
- TRX row
- Good mornings with a sandbag
- Sled pushes and pulls
- Lunges with a bicep curl
- Bosu ball push-ups
- Deadlifts with dumbbells
There were screens throughout the studio with images of figures performing the movements. This was very helpful, as I’m one of those people who always forgets the movements in longer circuits. The workout targeted the full body, and both instructors (Shaye and Gareth, who also happen to be husband and wife) scanned the room throughout the class and assessed everyone’s form.
The workout was efficient and went by quickly. The reason that it doesn’t merit more stars, in my book, is that it reminded me of similar studios that have more innovative movements. For example, Epic Hybrid Training is similarly structured both in terms of how they structure each workout and how each week is constructed. However, Epic’s movements themselves are less conventional and offer more substantive twists on the moves we’ve come to know.
SIZE OF CLASS: medium/large
Today’s class had approximately 25 people — enough so that some stations had two participants and some had three. Some stations, such as the sleds, were best suited to only two people, but the instructors worked to ensure that everyone was able to participate in each circuit.
Today’s workout was definitely challenging, but this will vary on an individual basis. Generally, using heavier weights will lead to a more challenging workout.
STUDIO QUALITY: 7.5
The studio was mostly fully-equipped, and the space was well-utilized. The bathrooms were clean and stocked, although they didn’t have razors. Like Epic and CrossFit studios, there were no mirrors to be found on the workout floor.
Total calories burned: 248 (a far cry from the 500+ I’ve seen written in reviews)
Average heart rate: 125 bpm
Max heart rate: 151 bpm
THE BOTTOM LINE
F45 Training offers a challenging workout that’s appropriate for all levels. The studio is well-equipped with fully-stocked locker rooms, apart from razors, but it’s not as luxurious as some other boutiques. I would recommend this workout to both beginners and those more experienced in functional training who are looking to try out the most popular fitness franchise in the world. However, I didn’t see much to differentiate it from its competitors.
- Bring your own razor!