It’s the 45-minute workout that keeps X Men’s Wolverine, Hugh Jackman, and Nicole Ritchie, in shape – and since launching in 2014, it boasts a cult following around Australia.
F45, short for Functional 45, is a programme founded by the Sydney-based trainer-to-the-stars Luke Istomin, and it’s based on high-intensity, interval training (or HIIT).
The session is timed, with 45 seconds ‘on’ and working out, and short fifteen second ‘rest’ periods in between. It is fast, includes strength work and cardio, and is just a little bit brutal.
So, what happened when myself and fellow FEMAIL journalist Lauren Grounsell went down to try a class?
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Ready to go: Lauren (left) and Sophie (right) prepare to try the fastest-growing fitness craze – an F45 class
HIIT fun: The 45-minute wclass combines strength and cardio with 45-second work and 15-second rest periods
Let’s just say we could not have prepared ourselves enough. Walking into a class in Sydney’s CBD, we discovered a terrifying-looking room full of skipping ropes, weights, ladders, mats and rowing machines.
Our company looked strong and lean, with the kinds of abs and bodies you might more regularly see on an action film set.
Exchanging nervous glances and gulps from our water bottles, we took our places in the dimly lit studio.
‘If you want to see a change in your physiques, F45 is the workout for you,’ our trainer for the day, Jarrod Roberts, bellowed, to eager faces and impatient limbs.
Circuit sets: The class includes varying exercises, such as skipping, squatting, sprinting and weight lifting
Full-body workout: While some sets were easier than others, all exercises provide a full-body workout
‘This workout is suitable for anyone,’ he elaborated – this is because you can take the class at your own pace, deciding how hard you work yourself in the 45-second ‘workout’ period.
Phew, I thought. As a cardio girl, and a fan of Pilates and Barre classes over weight training, I knew that this was going to be hard work. But as 75 per cent of F45 clients are female, I also figured I could handle it.
And so the class began. Following instructions on giant TV screens cleverly positioned around the studio, we partnered up and worked our way around a pre-organised circuit set to pulsating dance tunes.
Continuously changing: There is little opportunity to get bored as each set is so short and then you move on
Working hard: Sophie tries her hand at some weighted lunges for two 45-second sets
RECREATE THE F45 PHYSIQUE
2 x 45 seconds skipping
2 x 45 seconds weighted squats
2 x 45 seconds sprinting
2 x 45 seconds rowing
2 x 45 seconds weight swinging
2 x 45 seconds box jumps
2 x 45 seconds ladder drills
2 x 45 seconds mountain climbers
2 x 45 seconds suspension weight training
2 x 45 seconds planks
2 x 45 seconds squat jumps
2 x 45 seconds weighted lunges
2 x 45 seconds bicycle crunches
2 x 45 seconds leg raisers
2 x 45 seconds weighted body twist
Beginning with skipping for two 45-second sets (with two 15-second rest periods), Lauren and I steadily worked our way round rowing, boxing, squatting, sprinting, stretching and weight-lifting sets, all the while attempting to take on board what our trainer Jarrod was suggesting we should do.
Some workout zones were easier than others – a timed sprint up and down the side of the studio for instance – while others, namely swinging a 10 kilogram weighted bag above your head or suspension body weight training with TRX ropes, proved near impossible.
But because the exercise periods were so short (and painful) until the changeover and the next set, I didn’t have the chance to get bored or clock watch.
The only thing there was time to do was work or wait to work again.
Some 45 minutes later, despite being drenched in sweat and totally exhausted, we both couldn’t believe we’d been there working out for a full 45-minute class.
Weight-lifting goals: Lauren proved herself to be a natural when it came to the weight lifting
Some more difficult: However, burpees married with swinging a 10 kilogram bag proved more difficult
Half-time hydration break: In the middle of the workout, there is a timed water break
If you’re after a full body, fat-burning workout, F45 is a pretty safe bet. Forget spinning, yoga, Pilates and Barre – for intensive cardio and resistance work, F45 beats them all hands (or trainered feet) down.
The next day I still feel vaguely euphoric (as well as sore), and while I’m not sure I’ve got the commitment to attend the class the suggested three or four times a week, I can certainly see myself adding a session to my usual weekly fitness regime.
With an unrivalled endorphin rush (apologies, spin instructor) and a feeling that I had worked every single inch of my body, this workout is perfect for time-poor, results-driven city dwellers.
We’ll talk when I’ve got a supermodel body…
Recommended regime: It is recommended that you go to an F45 class three or four times a week
Time-poor perfection: For those short on time who want results quickly, it’s the perfect fitness class
Pulsating music: The class is accompanied by popular dance music and there are studios all over Australia