High-intensity | Circuits | Uses weights | Full body | Sweaty
Class - Hollywood
Instructor - Dean Vallis & Caitlin Dimbleby
Suitable for - Those familiar with basic weight training who want to push themselves hard
Fitness/Workout level - Intermediate
Length - 45 minutes
Equipment - All provided
Perks - Resident DJ, great instructors and workouts that are tried and tested on professional athletes
Drawbacks - No frills studio and facilities. Passes cannot be used at all F45 gyms
Cost - £20 for 7-day unlimited pass; £39 for 2-week trial pass; £160 for 1-month trial pass
Location - 131-133 East Hill, London SW18 2QB
Website - https://f45training.co.uk/Wandsworth/
Looking for innovative, results-driven training with first-rate instructors? Look no further.
I first heard about F45 last summer at London fitness event, Balance Festival and their iconic red-blue-white branding seemingly lodged in my brain. When I spotted an ad on Instagram for a free trial pass at F45 Wandsworth, I couldn’t sign up quick enough.
Arriving at the studio took me a little by surprise, as it resembles a painted white shed on a residential main road in Wandsworth - more shabby chic than boutique. Casting my judgements aside I hovered outside watching the last few minutes of the packed-out previous class, heartened to discover a live DJ in the corner playing thumping bass tracks. As I ogled through the door like a naughty schoolkid, my face betraying impending dread, I was greeted by owner and instructor, Dean Vallis, who beckoned me into the studio.
The functional warm-up was led by Caitlin Dimbleby; a national pole-vaulter who is in incredible shape, and consisted of 5 minutes of high knees and squat jumps to lift the heart rate as well as mobilisers . The main event is an expertly composed 27-station circuit of exercises; think battle ropes, frog jumps, renegade rows, TRX pistol squats, burpee tuck jumps and rowing machines. Each exercise is performed for 45 seconds with 15 seconds rest before moving onto the next one. You’ll complete 2 laps of the circuit, so 54 sets of work in total. The time elapsed is displayed on plasma screens on the front wall, as are the exercises complete with diagrams in case you lose your way.
Though I can vouch for the workout being as brutal as it sounds, the stations are strategically positioned to avoid overworking one muscle group for what seems like an eternity. That said, if any fibre of your being doesn’t feel as if it’s been pumped with lead once you’ve finished the class, something has gone horribly wrong. Less dramatically, you really haven’t pushed yourself hard enough. It’s a tough class, but you’re ultimately in control of how much you get out of it. The good news? Cute and cosy Café Fleur is just around the corner to replenish your glycogen stores post-workout. They serve brunch and they do an excellent smoothie, pictured below.
Conclusion: I highly recommend F45 Wandsworth, not least for the expert instructors. Dean was a PTI in the Royal Marines Commandos for 9 years (check out some of his crazy workouts on Instagram here) and Caitlin is equally impressive. She led the warm-up and a brilliantly thorough cooldown - something which I find is often overlooked in high-intensity classes. The format is comparable to Un1t’s signature class ‘Trooper’, but I found the exercise combinations and organisation at F45 more streamlined and less chaotic. My only suggestion for improvement is to have a whistle or buzzer to signal when 45 seconds is up. As not all exercises face the front wall, you must occasionally look over your shoulder to see what’s going on. This disrupts your flow and is also pretty dangerous.
Details: F45 is an Australian group workout concept which has garnered a loyal, cult-like fan base in both the UK and Australia (including Hugh Jackman and Nicole Ritchie) since its launch back in 2014, and is now a global franchise with a presence across 24 countries. Their brand philosophy is ‘Functional Training’ completed over a 45-minute session broken down into 45-second increments of work (the clue’s in the name). Their program boasts a variety of classes that mix functional exercises with high-intensity interval training to test your strength, core stability and cardiovascular endurance; all of which are tested on professional athletes before they are rolled out to F45 gyms worldwide. They release new workouts every 4-5 weeks, so there’s no danger of monotony.
F45 Wandsworth is located on East Hill, a 7-minute walk from Wandsworth Town station. There are whole host of membership options, including weekly, fortnightly and monthly passes from £20 for first-timers. You can also drop-in for £25 per class. Keep your eyes peeled for frequent promotions offering a free class trial.
Picture Credits: F45 Wandsworth & Kate I'Anson
 Mobilisers are simple movements often performed as part of a warm-up to create flexibility in the muscle tissue.
 ‘Functional Training’ refers to a type of training that works multiple muscle groups, usually your full body.