Y’all know how much I love trying a new workout. I always love to change things up in my routine to keep it interesting. So when I heard about the new fitness trend in town – F45 Fitness I had to give it a try. Have you heard about it? F45 is the most popular HIIT workout you have probably never heard of! This awesome workout originated from Australia just about 4.5 years ago and is blazing like wild fire all around the world, with 1500+ studios in over 40 countries worldwide already; this making it the world’s fastest growing fitness network! Why the name? F stands for “Functional” Training and “45” cos most of the workouts are 45 minutes long.
HIIT is my one true love; ever since I did Insanity a couple of years ago I always found myself going back to try new BeachBody at home workouts or design my own workouts keeping circuit style training in mind. So when I tried F45 at the F45 Studio in North Sunnyvale, I was instantly hooked, obsessed and in love – no surprises there! The workouts are 45 minute High-Intensity, Circuit Training style with cardio days on Monday, Wednesday and Friday ; and strength/resistance training on Tuesday and Thursday.
The cardio workouts are fast paced HIIT style with very little rest. Exercises include box jumps, spin cycles, rowing machines, burpees, body weight exercises, sleds, battle ropes and more! The strength days are a little slower but focus on lifting heavy, with shorter sets and longer breaks to help recover. Exercises include the holy trinity of deadlifts, bench press and squats as well as tons of other exercises like pull ups, push ups, barbell exercises and more. On Saturdays they offer a 1 hour cardio+strength class which is a great workout to finish the week off. I usually do 5-6 workouts every week along with other stretching/core exercises on my own at home. This pairing of interval, cardiovascular and strength training has been shown to be the most effective method of burning fat and building lean muscle.
The best part about F45 Fitness that I love is that no workout is the same and thats what keeps it super fun and always challenging. There are 31 different 45 minute workouts, with more currently in development. The workouts are created by the F45 Athletics and Peak Performance Department from a database of over 3,000 different exercises which is why you will never ever do the same workout twice!
The other reason I love F45 so much is the “Team Training” part. The sense of community is amazing and its so fun to workout with like minded individuals of all ages and fitness levels especially to push yourself harder for a healthy competition.
Team training, life changing
I also opted for the heart rate monitor so I could track how many calories I loose. On average I burnt about 500-600 calories every class! And sometimes even over 700 – if it was the 1 hour class on Saturdays (see an example below).
The gym in Sunnyvale is super spacious and clean – 5000 sq ft I believe! Even with a full class, it felt like I had plenty of space to workout in. The coaches are always giving you individual attention to help you perfect your form, modify any exercise to make it easier or even make it extra challenging. I hate gyms and group classes that are dark and very packed/crowded. F45 was far far from this – it was always so bright, airy and spacious – an atmosphere I feel motivated and excited to workout in. The music is also upbeat and gets you all pumped up to ace your workout.
The F45 Challenge :
F45 also has something called the “F45 Challenge” which happens 4 times a year. Each F45 Challenge is an 8 week challenge, which not only gives you access to unlimited training but also access to an online portal of an 8 week meal plan, lots of informative webinars, before + after in body scans and more. For me, my goal was not really weight loss, but more to build long and lean muscle tone and decrease my total body fat percent by building more lean muscle. I did achieve my goals and couldn’t be more excited so stay tuned to see how below !
Meals wise I didn’t follow the meal plan to the T, but what I did do – I strictly stuck to the calorie limit specified for my plan and ate clean through out the challenge. I used the meal plan as a reference to plan my own meals. Since I have been used to eating clean and counting calories (and sometimes even macros) in the past I was able to make my own meal plan. But the meal plan on the app is a great help for beginners or even if you want to be very strict with your diet. The app has grocery shopping lists and delicious meals to try out too – in the regular, vegetarian and the vegan option. They also have an option to order pre made F45 challenge meals, where you can pick up readymade meals at your gym. I haven’t tried this but it seems like a great option if you want to count calories but don’t have the time to meal prep.
F45 challenge app // meal plans
As I mentioned what I stuck to according to the plan was the calorie limit (I always tried to keep a 500 calories deficit to what my body needed) so that I achieve fat loss. I also adhered to the dietary restrictions posted within certain weeks during the challenge such as :
weeks 1 to 2 (Spring Training) – Detox weeks so I eliminated gluten, dairy, caffeine (was hard but I did it!), refined sugars, high fructose fruits and red meat (I don’t eat this anyways so it was easy)
weeks 3 to 6 (Regular Season) – Meals in this phase had high protein and moderate amount of good carbs to help build lean muscle. I also slowly reintroduced caffeine but I avoided dairy altogether.
weeks 7 to 8 (World Series) – Meals in this phase were mostly high fat low carb in order to utilize fat as a primary energy source.
I used the meals on the app as a reference to make the same or similar style of meals. Here are some I tried :
Berry protein smoothie bowl
Herb roasted salmon + brocollini
RESULTS from the Challenge :
Since weight wise I am happy at where I am at, I wasn’t looking at dropping a crazy number of pounds. FYI, most of my weight loss happened a couple of years ago when I dropped over 30 lbs when I started my fitness journey! But now when I want to fine tune my body I know even a pound takes forever and these last stubborn inches always takes the longest to loose. So even a small decrease means something super significant. I was super excited with my overall results at the end of the 8 week challenge as I hit the goals I had set out for myself! By comparing my before and after body scans here is a quick summary of the my RESULTS :
- Overall Loss : 2 lbs (-4+2 = -2 as explained below. Again as I mentioned – significant for me since I had lost 30 lbs years ago and then hit a plateau)
- Loss in fat Lbs : -4 lbs in fat (so stocked about this!)
- Gain in lean muscle mass : +2 lbs of lean muscle (yay!)
- Loss in Body fat Percent : -3% and I am now below 19% ( super excited about this as this now officially puts me in the “lean” category for my age. Its probably the lowest body fat % I have ever been).
Other things I learnt over the challenge :
- I also dropped a scale in Visceral Fat Level which is the fat around my organs (so I lost fat around my organs) and overall gained a good segmental lean balance in my arms and legs. (i.e gained lean muscle in both my arms and legs).
- I took photos every week and could see my progress in the front, side and back. See below for an example of my front photos from week 1 and 8.
- Lastly, the Playoffs is a fit test that you do at the beginning and end of the challenge. The playoffs are just 10 exercises that you do in 10 minutes – 45 seconds on, 15 sec rest at each station. It is the HARDEST 10 min I did in the entire challenge, as I gave it my all and the exercises are all full body challenges. Unfortunately I was out of town for the playoffs before the challenge so I couldn’t do it the first time. But I did the playoffs at the end of the 8 weeks and got an overall score of 472 (no one in our studio has crossed 600 yet so I think this number was not too bad :)). I can’t wait to beat my own score before the start of the next challenge.
(before and after – start of week 1 and end of week8)
Overall I loved the F45 Challenge and am so happy with my results. Its still a work in progress and hence I have gladly extended my membership as I am so in love with this new found fitness. If you are local and want to join, they offer a free week, so definitely swing by to check it out and give it a try!
The next challenge starts April 29th too, right in time for summer – so its the perfect time to join in to get that summer bod. Ill be doing the challenge again, come join me! Even if you aren’t local the F45 challenge will be going on across all their studios at the same time.
My amazing trainers – Ryan and Ben
Thanks to the team at F45 Training North Sunnyvale for being the best motivating trainers throughout the challenge! Cant wait to continue my fitness journey with them. If you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out.
Thanks for stopping by. xoxo