and get fit.

There. I went and said it.

F45 Wandsworth

Not something you thought you’d see in this day and age of The Body Coach, the lunchtime quick fix exercise class and with an F45 opening on every corner.

One thing I’ve learned since becoming a PT is the effects of HIIT on your body, and also the lack of effects of HIIT on your body…

(before I continue, just FYI this post was mostly written in November just after I did the F45 Wandsworth 2 week trial)

So, with Easygym in Wandsworth being shut for 2 weeks while it “transformed” into The Gym, I decided to sign myself up to F45 Wandsworth’s 2 week trial for £49 (their head of sales clearly took advantage of this closure opportunity!)

For those of you who are wondering what the F45 is, it started in Australia in 2012 and according to their website is “a Group-Training facility that featured the most dynamic and effective training styles to date.”

Most people measure a HIIT session on how ruined they feel afterwards, so naturally HIIT requires a lot from the body.

As such, training at F45 Wandsworth for 2 weeks meant I decided to change up my usual schedule and not do too much else alongside the classes on offer because being a personal trainer involves your body being able to function and energy levels to be relatively high.

Before we go any further, I want you to know that I love a good HIIT/conditioning session, see my love of Barry’s Bootcamp for example as it gives me a great mood boost from the endorphin hit, it’s great for the ol’ cardiovascular system etc. Plus, it’s incredibly effective if you’re short of time.

Nevertheless, I aim to do no more than 2-3x a week of HIIT because of how strenuous it is on the body (more on this towards the end).

F45 Wandsworth
F45 Wandsworth

Over those 2 weeks, my training diary looked like this:

  • Wednesday – F45 Foxtrot
  • Thursday – F45 Panthers
  • Friday – Taught spin
  • Saturday – F45 Hollywood
  • Sunday – F45 T10 (Boxing) / Brixton
  • Monday – F45 Wingman
  • Tuesday – Rest Day
  • Wednesday – F45 Foxtrot
  • Thursday – F45 Panthers
  • Friday – Upper Body strength and taught spin
  • Saturday – F45 Hollywood
  • Sunday – Rest day
  • Monday – F45 Athletica

What I felt…

  • Weak as F… – My first foray into the gym shouldn’t have been too bad on paper as it was about 10 days since I last trained upper body (the Monday before starting) and F45 included strength classes (albeit not as heavy as you’d get in the gym) but boy did I feel weaker! I just about managed to lift 60% of my 6RM usual deadlift weight for 5 reps. It felt like a case of just getting whatever I could done.
  • Foggy – Since recognising that a cloudy head isn’t the fact that I’m tired, I’m now more aware of this meaning my hormones/body is feeling out of whack from overtraining/not looking after myself. Needless to say, the daze was well and truly back after the first week of F45.
  • On Edge – This goes hand in hand with the previous point; resting heart rate goes up, caffeine gives me the wrong kind of buzz and I just feel a little bit anxious.
  • Fatigued – After the first week, I was zapped of energy. This is partly due to the fact my body isn’t used to this level of training so frequently, but also probably due to the fact HIIT puts quite a strain on the nervous system, joints and muscles.

What can F45 off.

  • Endless tuck jumps – F45 loves a move that HIITs you hard. I swear there was a tuck jump or burpee variation in every class (yes, I’m probably over-exaggerating) and if you’re new to training, plyometric moves can equal disaster, especially as fatigue sets in.
  • The F45 Challenge – I know a few people that love this, but from my POV this is EVERYTHING THAT’S WRONG WITH THE INDUSTRY! The dietary information given, the low calories in are nowhere near enough to sustain the workouts. Plus, it’s not sustainable
  • The praise given to people who do 2-3 classes back to back as this just fuels “the more calories burned the better” mentality (I’m getting ranty) but don’t you get bored?

What was F45ing Great

  • Teamwork literally makes the F45 dream work. Whether paired up or if it’s a familiar face, everyone’s in it together. There’s a real sense of community which is wonderful.
  • The instructors. It’s so good to see trainers that care and can also coach. They really get the best out of everyone in the class.
  • Savvy instructors – their demo technique and cues were spot on which is great. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop a few rounded back deadlifts and bent over rows slipping through – the group exercise class nightmare.
  • It is a good workout – the workouts are mostly balanced in terms of body parts worked and you leave feeling like you’ve given it your all. It’s a great supplement to your training regime.

Obviously this is more my own experiences and everyone’s different so I put it out to my followers on Instagram to see what people piped up with :

  • “LOVE the mix of cardio/HIIT/weights!! Completely changed my training from cardio only”
  • “I did the July 8 week challenge in the lead up to the wedding. Great from that perspective as I lost 6kg and 10% body fat. But now as a result my body isn’t ‘bouncing back’ to a healthy state – my periods stopped and haven’t come back, I just want to eat all the food I told myself I couldn’t eat during the challenge and even mentally feel all over the show. Like you say, it’s great for a short term fix for weight loss but for me definitely not sustainable”

F45 Wandsworth

So, moving onto HIIT in a little more detail…

Not for new kids on the blocks.Despite HIIT being super popular thanks to the Body Coach, thus often being the entry point for people exercising, it shouldn’t be the first thing you try. The requirement for near maximal effort can often lead to the odd twinge or worse.

Newcomers to exercise, get to grips with the basics to make sure you perform moves with proper form. Also, if it’s been a while, start with something low impact, work on flexibility and mobility to strengthen and prepare your body for harder workouts.

One size doesn’t fit all. We all have our quirks, issues and different levels so something fast-paced, especially in a class environment means that these quirks get overlooked and leaves you open to injury.

More isn’t more.HIIT can creates “a burning as many calories as possible is the only thing to worth training for” mentality, leading to injury or illness. Calories burnt shouldn’t be the main focus of your workout as racking these up is for outside of your workout. The focus ofLeave the workout for strengthening the body, over smashing it.

Stress HIIT.High intensity interval training can increase stress on the body as naturally our body goes into fight or flight mode which increases the levels of cortisol. These hormones level out with rest, but if you’re HIITing it hard, this level isn’t going to go down which can leave you feeling slightly frazzled and out of whack. (Aim for no more than 3 times a week).

So next time you’ve had a stressful day at work, maybe don’t HIIT it hard, opt for strength training or a Yin class instead.

What are your thoughts on F45 or HIIT?

Point x

empointer

Author empointer

More posts by empointer

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Bennett says:

    Agree here…

    Its the marketing that wins for F45, but unfortunately misleads people with poor education on what real effective training is for long term lifestyle sustainability, these days HIIT is being done wrong all through out the fitness industry with bs claims of 1000 calories being burned in 30 minutes with the EPOC/Afterburn effect, i get it got a science background & been in this industry for 15 years. Aside from the big millions of dollars marketing budget f45 have plus all the “insta influencers” getting paid to push it etc etc…THE REALITY is its not the most dynamic or effective training styles or concepts, far from it IMO.
    Also agree about the quick fix bs like the eating less (low calories, low carb etc) + training MORE = not able to fuel workouts and in general IMO… talk about throwing hormones out… i.e the person you quoted from Insta about wanting to eat all those bad food means cravings out of whack, for starters ghrelin & leptin would be spiraling out of control, also with the period issues she had points to hormones out of whack. Lets not get started on the weight loss vs fat loss perspective too, another major problem with the quick fix bs!
    Its not just f45 though but so many in the industry doing this. Boot-camp places are another, get the massive numbers in and smash them with ineffective body smashing plyometric exercises, make them feel like they’ve worked out “effectively”.

    May need expand on the hormonal things you’ve said here. Cortisol actually goes up no matter what training you do including strength training and is important for fat burning when its associated “correctly” with Human Growth Hormone and Testosterone which is a whole other story of how hormones dictate fat burning & metabolism (this is why strength training builds muscle to shape & tone the body)….. as long as cortisol goes down post workout then all good. Not sure how old you are but training for someone as a young millennial will be vastly different for those over say in late 30’s or over 40 as hormonal balance particularly more complex in women take place due to hormonal profile changes as age which can be combated though with correct training & nutrition, this a whole other story as well, could write a novel on it but that’s enough said. : )

  • […] more on that here, however let’s get back to what I was initially chatting […]

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