How F45 Got Me Back On Track

 Photo courtesy of Amy Stralko

Photo courtesy of Amy Stralko

Towards the end of last year Cayman welcomed our very first F45 studio, the latest group fitness craze to hit your newsfeed, and in only three short months the classes are full and the Island is buzzing with a solid group of F45 diehards. And after my first two months, I dare to say I could be one of them.

Like with everything cool and trendy at the minute, F45 originates in Australia and is now franchised out to over 18 countries worldwide. F45 stands for "functional training" set across an intense 45 minute session (but don't let the name fool you, there's an hour long slog called "Hollywood" on Saturdays - think less glitz but firmer buttocks, which has to be LA approved, right?!)

The F45 Group explains "The concept is simple: our studios all over the world offer a 45 minute High-Intensity, Circuit Training workout class for our studio members. We have developed 27 different 45 minute workouts, with more always in development. Our studios offer the same class at different times throughout the day. Every day throughout the week offers a different 45 minute workout. The workouts are created by the F45 Athletics and Peak Performance Department from a database of over 3,000 different exercises, so our members never get the same workout twice". And I must admit, the variety is what keeps you coming back.

Over the last year I have really struggled with maintaining a healthy gym routine. Partially down to underactive thyroid issues giving me really low energy and partially down to a classic case of "I can't be bothered". Once you find yourself in a demotivated rut, it can be really hard to get out. Long days feeling unfulfilled in my day job would be satiated with red wine and popcorn on the couch. To state the blindingly obvious, this isn't a good look for anyone, especially not when you're trying to get your health in check! So with an open mind, a need to get healthier and a passion for supporting any new company trying to break into the Cayman market, I happily accepted the invite to give F45 a try for their launch on October 29th, in their new shiny new premises at The Strand, no less.  

 `Launch Day - all the gear no idea!

`Launch Day - all the gear no idea!

If you truly want to get fit, you can’t show up unprepared.

Being totally honest (my theme for blogging, in case you haven't noticed), my first session was disastrous! It was a Saturday so of course I was hungover (not recommended) and without realising it, I'd signed up for a gruelling hour long session (also not recommended for your first time).  Being naturally competitive, I instinctively pushed myself way too hard and with my poor preparation I was literally done for the day and in a dressing gown by 4pm completely exhausted! This experience was a bit of a shock to the system but it did act as a healthy reminder that if you truly want to get fit, you can't show up unprepared. So after a few weeks to get my act together, put down the bottle (ish) and take this working out seriously again, I signed up to trial two months from January to blog about the experience and hopefully get fitter, healthier and happier in the process. A win win right?

Over the last two months I have managed two F45 sessions a week at a minimum, alongside weekly netball matches and yoga. Although it's not an incredible amount of fitness, it has been enough for me during a transition at work and whilst getting back to full health. Wanting to get into a healthier routine, my husband, Stefan and I signed up for 6am workouts Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (occasionally), and it was great. Getting up at 5.15am is never a joy but with a partner going to the same commitment (a rarity for us) you very quickly re-motivate each other. You don't have to think about what you're actually going to do at the gym, whether it's Kayla's dreaded "leg day" or whether the instructor will show up. You get up and the rest is on auto-pilot. The session is always different for that day of the week, the warm up is pre-scheduled and there's always a mid-way 1 minute water break. The HIIT workouts always seem refreshingly new - even if you've done the individual exercise before, the 27 circuit stations are always in a new order or unique sequence which keeps it feeling challenging and enjoyable.

 

I have particularly enjoyed the mix of circuit style exercises that work out your entire body and given each exercise is only ever for an intense 20-40 seconds repeated up to a maximum of 4 times, there's little chance of getting bored or feeling the dread of doing it all again and again till you can't lift your arms - although you might feel that the day after!  Each circuit has a variety of weight options so you can build your stamina and strength whilst two instructors walk the floor to check your form and catch you slacking. Many of the exercises are based on your own body weight or moderately light weights so there is no fear of the macho heavy lifting environment that you can face in some mixed gyms or studios. Group exercise might not be for everyone but I have found it has helped my motivation and commitment whilst acting as a great way to meet new people. 

An exciting and surprising outcome of my training is that my back pain has almost completely gone away! Dr Lippit was treating issues with my sacrum (glorified lower back pain) which he put down to a lazy right gluteus maximus (right bonkeh cheek) and I was given some exercises to do on my own which I enthustiastically agreed to and instantly forgot, like we all do right? But by simply doing all the core strengthening exercises and squat/lunging/jumping series that are always incorporated into each workout, I have almost completely replaced the need for physio - the real win from all of this! And that's been the icing on the figurative cake. On the point of diet, I can confirm the saying is true - you can't outwork a poor diet. Perhaps with a little less vino and a few more sessions per week I might be able to see some definition coming through in the months that come. Who knows but the thought is certainly enough to spur me on for another few months for sure! 

If you're interested in trying out F45, why not sign up for their free 7 day trial and see how you get on? There's nothing to lose and you can see what all the fuss is about, who knows you might just get hooked in time for Batabano - fingers crossed! Check out their Facebook or Instagram and see what you think. Don't be shy, please introduce yourself, I'll be the one trying to pretend I'm not dying right next to you!

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