One Week at F45 | My Thoughts

Fitness has never been my thing. I never got into it when I was younger, and despite numerous promises over the years, I still didn't take that leap. It took me 19 years to join a gym, 21 to start going regularly, and another few months after that to realise that I can't do this shit on my own.

I'm just not disciplined or knowledgeable enough. Sure, I've made it a mission this year to actually get my heart racing while exercising instead of choosing a comfortable pace - and I've done it, but it doesn't always last + I'm bored. The gym I joined in March this year, however, closes in one month's time - so it looks like it's time to find a solution.

I just finished a free trial at F45, and honestly, I'm pretty certain this is what being a living corpse entails. I was proud of surviving my first session, but the entire weekend consisted of me grimacing in pain because my stomach hurt when I sneezed, and falling asleep on nearly every horizontal surface. To sum up, I've been working (as in jobs) 6-7 days a week for five months already, but this was the first week that I truly felt tired at the end of the week and I'm definitely blaming F45.

So, what does F45 entail? Basically, it's a 45 minute session and there's one or two trainers watching over a group of 10-22 as we make our way around a circuit. F45 is open 6 days a week, and runs classes that are both resistance and cardio-based. The gym prides itself on never doing the same thing twice, but I can tell you right now, not a single day feels easier because of this. Every single session will kick your ass.

What have I learnt so far?

  • That I have so much to work on when it comes to form and my (lack of) arm strength
Oh my god, doing pushups in front of a trainer brought me back to a really embarrassing moment in primary school when my friends (through fits of laughter) revealed to me I had no fucking clue how to do a pushup. Turns out that's still the case. 

Apparently, I need to fix this. 😭 Posture and form has always been my weakness when it comes to exercise, so it actually feels nice to be called out for it so I can fix it. My biggest issue is arm slipping, and the impending collapse when I eventually nail the form because my arms are way weaker than I ever knew.

While this (among the other things I can't do) is still embarrassing, I'm actually glad I know it so I can work on it. Having generic goals when it comes to fitness has never paid off in the past, but that never meant I took the initiative to make tangible goals. For this alone, I want to keep this F45 membership (but it may cost me a kidney to sustain the costs unless I get a long-term job...)

It's also been eye-opening to learn how you can work do exercises with weights. I've never known how to, and for that reason alone, I've just avoided it. But in just one class, I've been exposed to assisted pull-ups (did you even know that you could use resistance bands to help you do a pull-up because I sure as hell didn't?!), deadlifts and a whole bunch of other exercises I can't name (but I'm gonna give you random descriptions because it benefits me because it'll help me remember them 😂)

e.g. lying down and lifting T-shapes. leaning over and forming T shape with weights. holding up and dropping one arm down at a time (on balance ball). lunge with leg against the block holding an axe thing. burpes. doing mountain climbers on a half ball

  • There's a lot of different ways to get that heart rate up.
I know that sounds so obvious, when you're a total novice when it comes to even having knowledge about exercises, F45 is honestly the best. I already said earlier I've learnt a ton of new movements and exercises, but I think what's been really eye-opening was learning that exercises are beyond running on a treadmill or even just doing push-ups. The resistance training is just as tough as cardio, and the real challenge I've faced is my lack of co-ordination. The correct way to work out has something I've always heard, but I've not fully understood it in F45 because there are different ways to make your body burn.

There's something exciting (and torturous) about not knowing what part of body will turn on you, and when. Cardio is tiring when you're doing, and you absolutely feel some sort of effect after the fact, but resistance constantly engages the muscles during and after the work out, so the body feels like it's still recovering.

  • I love that someone else is in control of my workout.
There's a level of discipline I don't need when someone else dictates your workout, so all that discipline instead goes into going all out every single round. All the other stuff is knowledge, but this was the big mental step I needed. I need that assistance (I don't want it forever, because it doesn't feel fair) but I like just working out and then not having to think about it much after.

  • The variety is so goddamn satisfying.
Let's run through the four lessons I've taken thus far.

Pipeline (Cardio)
  • 12 stations, 3 rounds and no hydration breaks was a helluva way to dive into the F45 world. I've made it clear how much I don't know - but the feeling of getting through this workout (which scared the shit out of me the moment the trainer mentioned it something pro surfers do) was something foreign to me. The pain sucked (and continued to suck for the next three days), but I did it. Rowing, squats, burpees, push-ups. I stuffed up numerous times and there was always someone to call me out (which is embarrassing but annoyingly helpful) but this honestly set the precedent for me. I knew even then, no matter how much the experience felt somewhat awkward, or how expensive it was - that feeling wasn't gonna be matched on my own, and I had to keep going for it.
Firestorm (Cardio)

  • I thought Pipeline was bad. This one had me burning. 27 stations, 2 rounds, 1 hydration break. Every single part of my body was misfiring. I couldn't figure out what number came next, let alone how to do half the exercises. You know that rope thing that I swear to god looks so easy when you watch other people do it? Yeah, my arms couldn't even get more than a small ripple out of it. I can't even explain how many times I'd lie down to start a burpee and just want to stay there. But here's the thing: F45's atmosphere is electric. Either it's the screaming trainers, upbeat music or very bright lights but that temptation to just collapse is something I just didn't have the guts to do. This session included mountain climbers with a bosu ball (trust me, lack of balance will make this downright impossible), high knees, sprints + star jumps, jump squats, battle ropes, jackhammer swinging. This one really, truly has it all - and I am nearly certain this one was the worst of all.
All Stars (Resistance)
  • All Stars is all about weights, which is probably why the exercise didn't take me out during the session. For fear of somehow injuring myself, I didn't push myself to go for the higher weights, but I'm not sure it made the biggest difference. I woke up the next morning with aches in my arms, and legs. I still can't sit down without wanting to punch my thighs for burning during that process. This was probably the most insightful session for me. The biggest fear with weights for me was always that I wouldn't know how to do anything without hurting myself. While I won't be bothered if I never do the other sessions again (seriously Firestorm is my worst nightmare - but my schedule has made sure that's the one session I will never be 'too busy for') and they get swapped with new ones, I'm genuinely excited for a repeat of this. It might have made me realise how weak my arms are, but there are techniques which I don't think I ever would've taken it on myself to learn otherwise.
Varsity (Cardio)
  • Any unfit person knows the word 'endurance' is terrifying. This session was different. 9  stations and three rounds but with varying lengths and breaks each time. You know that session where you don't realise how bad it's gonna be until you're doing it? That's this for me. The challenge starts simply enough - 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, three times before moving to the next station. It's not that easy, unfortunately.
In summary, I'm gonna continue these sessions at least for another month and see how it goes. I appreciate having a routine, with some variety and to be honest, I'm learning more than I would on my own.

I only hope I get stronger ASAP.