I should start by being totally honest: I'm not a huge fan of group fitness classes. I used to do CrossFit religiously, but I gave it up a couple years ago to pursue more variety (and mobility) in my workouts. Ever since then, I've gotten fitter than ever, and the only group fitness sessions I've been to have either just been average or not very effective.
When I heard about F45 Training, I thought it was just another Barry's or SoulCycle. But after hearing so many great things about the program, I decided to go in with an open mind and give it a shot. Here are a few things I learned about F45 Training. Spoiler alert: it was the best group fitness class I've ever taken.
Every Workout Is Totally Different
I initially thought F45 was nothing more than a basic circuit class. But it turns out that every single session is different. There are 31 different kinds of workout experiences (all 45 minutes in length), each of them different from the next. At the Venice Beach location in LA, I did Hollywood: Circuit, 22: Paired Cardio, and Panthers: Functional & Resistance.
I was shocked at how different each workout was. Hollywood: Circuit was a true circuit class that alternated back and forth between strength and cardio, while 22: Paired Cardio (which claims to burn 1,000 calories, and I'm inclined to agree) was chalk full of HIIT cardio. Panthers: Functional & Resistance, on the other hand, was all strength training, and even as an weightlifter, this class kicked my ass.
It became clear that it's pretty difficult to get bored with F45 Training. You'll never do the same workout twice, and you're guaranteed to work just about every part of your body.
It's Actually a REALLY Good Workout
There have been many times when I walk away from a group fitness class and feel like I didn't get that good of a workout. Sure, I sweat and feel out of breath, but when it comes to strength training, I hardly ever feel sore or accomplished from group fitness. That wasn't the case with F45, though.
The strength-training portions are no joke, and there are a variety of weight options at each station, so anyone and everyone can feel like they got the most bang for their buck. I was sore for three days after the Panther session!
The Atmosphere Is the Most Fun of Any Group Fitness I've Ever Done
I lived in Australia for three years, and F45 Training has a lot of elements of Australian culture I love most: laid-back vibe, superfriendly atmosphere, and not at all pretentious. Let's be real for a second — a lot of group fitness studios can feel painfully bougie sometimes. Everything is beige and perfect, and it almost feels a little elitist. But F45 is raw, real, and totally relatable. Plus, the instructors are fun as hell!
It's Great For All Levels
Because there are so many different weight and resistance options at each station, F45 is great for all levels of fitness. For example, at the chest press station, there were several different pairs of dumbbells you could use. There were also a few different resistance band options at the pull-up station. Even at the box jump area, there were a few different heights you could choose from. Whether you're a newbie or an athlete, you can tailor F45 to fit your needs.
It's a Program You Can Sustain For a Long Time
Some fitness classes out there are just too hard on the body in the long run (I won't name any, but I think you know which I'm referring to). Fortunately, F45 Training uses so many different kind of exercises and movements, so you don't hammer your body with the same repetitions over and over again. I know I only did three sessions, but I didn't feel there was any negative damage done to my body after any of the workouts, even though I pushed myself to the max. It seems like a workout you could maintain for years without wrecking your body.