THE BASICS: Functional Training 45, or as it’s affectionatly known F45 is huuuuge in Australia. London Bridge is the inaugral F45 site in the UK (closest station is Borough) and it’s a big open rectangular basement space with the sort of equipment that means you could train there every day and not get bored. I nearly cried with joy when I walked in.
They currently offer 4 classes; whole day is dedicated to one type of class (I went on “Romans” day). They have a seven-day free introductory pass, and for the month of December ’15, all classes are £10 (with £5 going to Alone in London) . From Jan 2016, memberships are available- starting at £135 a month for 2 classes a week.
THE BITCHES: Carly
THE CLASS: I was late. Look, it’s ALWAYS the train’s fault, ok?! My bambi-eyed expression at joining the session after missing every single instruction must have been frighteningly clear to the Ben behind the reception desk.”Don’t worry, they’ll guide ya through!” he smiled, and with that I scampered off to hide at the back and pretend I’d been there from the beginning.
We were working individually but put in groups who we stayed with for the whole class, moving our way round 3 pods. Each pod consisted of 3 different stations. And at each station, you stayed for a minute, repeating one simple functional movevement, broken into 35 seconds of activity, then 25 seconds of rest. We moved twice round each pod.
You with me?
Luckily, there were helpful video screens showing the number of each station and a guy demonstrating each move. Another screen counted down activity/rest timings, making it easy to follow if you lost track…or waltzed in late.
But the screens only supplemented the thing that (for me) makes a gym stand head and shoulders above others; incredibly motivating, loud (but not angry-shouty), enthusiastic PTs, absolutely giving it their all, and multi-tasking to keep everyone on track and performing moves correctly.
I was slightly overwhelmed for the first few minutes- a combination of the music, the instruction, the countdown and the fact that there are so many different moves going on. Thankfully, Matt, Rob and Ben made it plain sailing. They got us in the zone from the second the class started, moving between groups and individuals with ease, keeping us all focused at our little stations, and helping us with alternitives if we were struggling.
It was arm day (I DESPISE arm day) and we were straight in with press ups, by kettlebells, dead weights, lateral raises, monkey bars… by the time I was on bear crawls across the blue fake-grass surface, I resembled mix between drunk Spiderman walking up a wall and a cat swaying groggily, moments before it’s sick across the carpet.
Thankfully, Matt bounded over at just that second “KEEP GOING WITH YOUR…. BEAR-CRAWL SPIDER MAN-CAT MOVE!” he urged in an honourably sincere manner, about 6 inches from my face. That’s what I’m talking about when it comes to PTs being motivating.
During the 45 minutes, we stopped for micro-rests between each set, and for maybe 90 seconds while moving between pods. Aside from that, it was FURIOUSLY fast, and my heart rate was up from the word go.
By the time I’d finished my shoulders were pumped and my arms were literally sticking out of me like some sort of small meat head. This was probably the hardest I’d ever worked at an arm day.
THE VERDICT: I LOVED this place. I loved the pace of the class, the stations, the vibe, the moves, the music, the trainers, and the fact that they remember your name and treat you like a regular about 40 seconds after you arrive. Super impressed to the point I’ll be going back even when my free pass has run out… that’s all the recommendation you need from someone as tight as me, really.
THE EXTRAS: Romans is one of 4 current classes available. I’ve also tried Brooklyn (boxing circuits combined with full body conditioning work). Athletica and Hollywood are also on the timetable.
Girls changing rooms: 2 powerful showers with soap dispensers, hair dryers, straighteners + plug sockets.