STUDIO SPOTLIGHT x F45 Training Liberty Village

by Amy Simmonds @englishsimms

This week’s STUDIO SPOTLIGHT showcases Liberty Village’s hidden gem, F45 Training (or as the cool kids call it, F45). Tucked down an alleyway in the trendy west-end neighbourhood, this training studio has been changing the face of small-group fitness since arriving in Canada over 2 years ago. Born in Australia in 2012, F45 (Functional 45) came to Canada after blowing up the Australian fitness scene right out of the gate. Lucky for us Torontonians, F45 Liberty Village was the first location to be opened in Canada, and if the number of people in each class is any indication, F45 is a big hit!

Each class is 45 minutes long (hence F45), and the training method combines elements of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Circuit Training, and Functional Training. According to the website, “the combination of interval, cardiovascular and strength training has been proven to be the most effective workout method for burning fat and building lean muscle.” A pretty big claim from the folks ‘down under’.

When you arrive at the liberty village studio, the first thing you’ll notice is the sea of equipment that is covering every inch of the gym. Bikes and rowing machines are the only traditional cardio machines you will see, with the remaining equipment made up of kettlebells, barbells, sledge hammers, a small turf area, battle ropes, medicine balls, bosu balls and more. Another thing you’ll notice are the large televisions hanging up at the front of the class. No, you won’t all be sitting down watching an episode of Stranger Things together, but instead, these screens display all the exercises you will be doing throughout the 45-minute circuit. A bonus for someone who has the memory of a goldfish, like myself.

After a short warmup led by the instructors (two per class), and a brief explanation of the various exercises, it's go-time. The music, and your heart rate, will immediately start pumping, and I guarantee it will not take you long before you start breaking a sweat. With assistance from the TV’s, instructors are able to spend less time reminding people of their exercises (guilty!) and more time correcting form, encouraging or modifying exercises. As you are usually working in pairs through the circuit, you immediately form an unspoken comradery with your fellow gym-goer, which definitely helps as you push, sweat, grunt and even swear your way through the various stations in the circuit. Now I see what the Aussies were making such a fuss about – this is one kick-ass workout.

Although the studio is fairly small, don’t think that you’re not in for a killer sweat session. With the TV’s displaying the exercises and timing for each station, all the pressure and stress that sometimes comes with small-group circuit training is completely taken away. You can just focus on the station you are at and let the motivation from the music, and your fellow workout-loving pals, push you to have an awesome workout.

What you’ll get out of it: a high-intensity, challenging workout from start-to-finish. The music and energy is everything you need to test and push your limits, and as each exercise is focused on functional movements, it won’t be long before you begin to see muscles you never knew you had. Bring on the six pack!

STUDIO SPOTLIGHT Q&A with F45 Liberty Village co-owner, Jarrett Slaney:

1. What was your vision when you decided to bring F45 to Toronto?

I was lucky enough to learn about F45 in the very early stages. My business partner and I flew to Australia and instantly fell in love, not only with how innovative F45 was, but how each studio had built a loyal and positive community. Never before had we done a workout quite like F45. From that first workout, we opened the first F45 in Canada in a matter of months. Our vision is to continue to offer the most innovative, fun, and motivating workouts to our members and the public. Our members are our family (we see them more than anyone else) and, although it is still in the early stage, we are excited to announce that our team will be opening more studios in downtown Toronto and Waterloo. 

2. I’m completely new to F45. What can I expect for my first workout?

Everyone is welcome at F45. Throw intimidation out the window and expect the most motivating, fun, innovative and result driven workout in 45 mins you have ever done. Our TV screens keep our workouts moving and frees up our amazing trainers to ensure you are doing exercises correctly and effectively. You will sweat, your muscles will feel it, and you will be instantly hooked. We call it the 'F45 drug'. You can also expect amazing music that is specifically matched to each one of our individual programs, streamed daily by a DJ in Australia.

3. We want to know about you. What is your go-to exercise or move when you’re needing a good ass-kicking in the gym?

When I need a good ass-kicking the continuous ‘box-jump to push-up burpees’ always does the trick. Especially when our trainers have their eyes on you.

F45 Liberty Village is open 7 days a week and offers a complete training system that includes elements of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Circuit Training and Functional Training. Full class descriptions can be found here.

Join us on Saturday, April 29th, for a unique event provided by WHISTLE, F45 Liberty Village and Myodetox Performance. Come and test your fitness level and challenge yourself. Compare your results to the pros who will be leading each time slot, then have your results analyzed by Myodetox professionals. All proceeds are in support of CAMH.