Hype testing a fitness phenomenon…

The review

Functional. That’s the ‘F word’ I was talking about. Although if that ‘F’ had you thinking about a different set of syllables, that was likely the word I was muttering under my breath during a set of burpees in my first class.

It was, as most worthwhile transformative experiences tend to be, a trial by fire. And I loved it. I’m getting ahead of myself though, let me introduce you to F45 Training: the cult fitness brand from Down Under, with a Chief Brand Officer post held by Hollywood A-Lister Mark Wahlberg.

Each class is 45 minutes, and combines a mixture of HIIT, functional training, resistance workouts and cardio circuits. They’re designed to burn fat, build muscle, improve functional form, and torch up to 1,000 calories.

There are currently thousands of these boutique F45 fitness studios across the world, with a sizeable footprint right here in the UAE (including the Marina, Motor City, Meydan, Town Square, Mirdif and Downtown). I’d heard independent claims that they achieve impressive results over a short period of time. And whilst I know that there are no shortcuts in fitness, there are crash courses – so I downloaded the app and took advantage of their one week for Dhs199 intro deal at the Palm Jumeirah branch.

A day later I’m standing outside the glass frontage for the 7am class, apprehensively nursing a can of preworkout. Ashley, the warm and professional studio manager ushers me in. New recruits have to get on a futuristic looking set of scales, a rite of passage that analyses your BMI alongside your weight and some other metrics that make for sober reading.

Then it’s into the warm-up – stretches and a bit of light cardio, “this is fine” I remember thinking to myself, “I can do this” which in retrospect was more proactive gaslighting than reaffirming mantra. Today’s session is ‘Titans’, a tour of resistance-focused circuits – targeting both the lower and upper body.

45 seconds on, then a break of 20 seconds. I’d envisaged 70s drill sergeants, but the trainers are all incredibly encouraging, knowledgeable and generous with their time. I’ve been doing a bit of running over the past year, and though I wouldn’t class myself as an athlete – I would say I’m reasonably cardio fit.

What F45 demonstrated, immediately, is how few of my muscles I’d actually been testing until now. After the session, it took a few days before I could walk downstairs without looking like a meme. It’s brutal, humbling at times, intense and challenging. But I’ll bring you back to what I said in the opening paragraph: “I love it”. I’m now several weeks in, but I loved it from the very first class.

The real F word here, it turns out, is Forever.

F45 Training, Golden Mile Galleria, Palm Jumeirah, membership packages from Dhs1,100 (special offers are available). @f45_training_palmjumeirah

Current promotions

In addition to the Dhs199 trial package (with up to seven sessions free) deal, the Palm Jumeirah branch has some more cool ways to save whilst you wave calories goodbye.

Their special summer deal gives six weeks unlimited access to classes on the Palm for Dhs1,399.

Valid for use at Dubai Marina, Motor City, Meydan, Town Square, Mirdif and Downtown.

For more information, or to book your first class, WhatsApp: (058) 527 0045

Meet the trainer: Ashley Gayle, Studio Manager

Can you tell us a bit about why you think F45 is so good at getting results?

F45 workouts are designed to be dynamic and challenging, often incorporating a variety of exercises such as cardio, strength training, and plyometrics. The program emphasises full-body workouts using equipment like dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, and bodyweight exercises.

One of the key aspects of F45 on the Palm is its focus on group training and a sense of community. Palm members work out together in a supportive environment led by certified coaches who guide them through the workouts.

The program’s structure and variety of exercises make it appealing to individuals of all ages and fitness levels, from beginners to experienced athletes.

Each workout is a meticulously crafted blend of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), circuit training, and functional exercises, designed to ignite your metabolism, sculpt your physique, and elevate your endurance. From cardio circuits to strength training and everything in between, every movement is purposeful, every sweat bead a testament to your dedication.

What does the average day look like for an F45 Palm Jumeirah member?

5am: Wake up with a lemon water

6am: F45 Marathon Class Palm Studio

8am: Breakfast – Scrambled eggs with spinach and tomatoes: Cook two eggs with a handful of fresh spinach and chopped tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs. Layer onto wholegrain toast: two slices of whole grain bread toasted.

10:30am: Morning Snack – Greek yogurt with honey and almonds:

1pm: Lunch – Grilled chicken salad: Grilled chicken breast slices on a bed of mixed greens (lettuce, spinach, arugula) with cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, avocado, and a light vinaigrette dressing. Paired with a glass of water and a slice of lemon or lime.

4pm: Afternoon Snack – Hummus with vegetable sticks for dipping.

6pm: After work walk around the beautiful sights of the palm to increase steps.

7:30pm: Dinner

– Baked salmon: Salmon fillet baked with lemon, garlic, and herbs.

– Quinoa pilaf: Quinoa cooked with diced vegetables (such as bell peppers, onions, and zucchini) seasoned with herbs and spices.

– Steamed broccoli: Fresh broccoli florets steamed until tender.

– Beverage: Herbal tea or water.

Optional evening snack: Sliced apple with almond butter

F45 Training, Golden Mile Galleria, Palm Jumeirah, membership packages from Dhs1,100 (special offers are available). @f45_training_palmjumeirah