I recently did a class at F45. If memory serves, I think I first read about F45 in Men’s Health magazine and they mentioned Hugh Jackman is a client. If it’s good enough for the Wolverine, it’s good enough for me.
The 45 in “F45” is how long the class lasts, 45 minutes. It’s a circuit training class and they do lots of variations to keep it fresh. I thought it was very enjoyable, in a torturous sort of way. The circuit itself had 12 different exercises and I was in another room getting changed while they were explaining them but no need to fear, they have screens at each station showing you what you’re meant to be doing and two instructors walking around helping and motivating.
There was a weird “let’s do this, we’re all in it together” vibe that I can’t quiet explain but created a nice team atmosphere. Facilities wise, the whole place looks new, and to be fair, it is. Fresh paint, new equipment, just a high standard in general, I hope it stays that way. There is no changing room which most people seemed to know already because they arrived and left in their gym gear. There is a unisex shower and bathroom area, relax, each shower and cubicle has its own door, and that is where I got changed. Personally, I do like proper changing rooms.
How was the class? Well, as I was sitting and putting my shoes back on after the class, I had complete jelly legs. F45 is an exhausting workout and I worked up a proper sweat. It’s also accessible, you’re very much in control over how far you push yourself. If I were to add anything it would be a cool down session after the workout. There is no rushing people out the door at the end of the class so you could do your own cool down if you wanted. I enjoyed F45 and I will be back. I think classes like this are going to be very popular and will challenge traditional gyms for memberships. I don’t envision F45 having any trouble bringing in the patrons. Great to see F45 in Dublin. The variety of fitness options in this city continues to grow. I wish them luck. See you again soon enough.
Watching my son engage with the world I see that he’s only interested in play time. Play serves many functions, its a bonding tool, its a way to learn how your body moves, and it floods your body with feel good endorphins.
For a young mammal everything is play time, and everything in your environment is there to be engaged with. Curiosity is constant. I wonder when we lose this curiosity, and when we start to view our environment as something that can only be used in a certain number of ways, I can’t remember the last time I stood rather than sat on a chair? I suspect school has something to do with it. Perhaps schooling has changed since my day but I seem to remember sitting a lot, does school kill our natural desire to engage with our environment?
I don’t expect anyone to be able to maintain child like curiosity into adulthood, but when is the last time you played? I decided to go to the gym with no plan, I just wandered around and did whatever came to mind, it was fun, and I took a few videos in the process.
Break out of your normal routine, use your environment, go play.
I recently went to Basecamp Fitness in San Francisco. Basecamp is a class based gym, you come to do the class, and nothing else. I do like this growing trend of class or exercise specific gyms, assuming you can pay per class (even though they all encourage membership) it lets you pick and choose to get the best of everything.
The Basecamp class is simple, 35 minutes of training, push as hard as you can, no rest, burn it, earn it, and then you’re done for the day. Its broken down into one minute exercises. One minute on the bike, and then a 10 second transfer to another exercise, one minute of that, then a 10 second transfer back to the bike. And on its goes for 35 minutes. The exercises that you are meant to be doing when not on the bike are displayed on the screens around the gym, simply look at the screen where you can see a video of what you should be doing, and the instructor will advise also.
Not everyone is doing the same exercises at once. At the beginning of the class you’re paired up and assigned a letter. My partner and I were assigned the letter A. When I was on the bike, he was doing an exercise, and vice versa. To know what exercise we should be doing, just look for A on the screen and do that.
There is a variety of exercises, bent over dumbbell rows, bicep curls, push-ups, figure 8’s with a weight plate, and so on, so its kept very interesting. By the end of the class I was exhausted and felt I got a great workout done. The staff are also friendly and energetic. If I lived in San Francisco, I’d be a regular.
One cool novelty, the headphones. Through the headphones you hear thumping beats and the instructor, although she wasn’t so far away that you wouldn’t hear her anyway.
One drawback, no changing rooms. The toilets have to double up as changing rooms. I was the only person to use the toilets as a changing room, everyone else arrived at class in gym attire.
There were also a few ab drills after the 35mins so its not strictly a 35min class. Final verdict, I bought a jumper as a memento, that says it all.
Lifting weights can be the exercise equivalent of those foods in the supermarket that are branded healthy but are far from healthy. Its unfortunate that food companies deliberately mislead consumers, when consumers are trying to do the right thing.
I often think the same thing about weights training. When getting a gym tour (especially as a man) before becoming a member, gyms tend to show off all the free weights they have. And if you sign up for a programme to get in shape, no doubt there will be weights training involved.
There is a mis-match here – “I wanted to get in shape, and they prescribed me some weights training”. But a manufactured body using free weights is essentially an unnatural one, with muscles that bulge in the middle – a product of linear up and down movements that creates a swollen aesthetic. A functional body has long, toned muscles that are as thick where they meet your joints as they are in the middle.
I think its comes down to uneducated or poorly informed personal trainers, who don’t know anything beyond weights training. Or maybe its just telling people what they want to hear because people prefer the benchpress to build pecs, rather than crawling and push-ups. Its not that I have anything against weights training. If you’re trying to attain a certain aesthetic, weights are the way to go. I just fear that people go to the gym to get fit, are prescribed weights training, and instead of getting fit, they get the look of someone who is fit.
Forget about the weights and forget about legs day, chest day, arms day. Instead work on controlled integrated balance movements, integrated explosive power movements, and endurance workouts. You’ll get a well-rounded, proportional body. It will keep you fitter, leaner, and stronger, for longer.