As someone who considers half an hour on a treadmill a solid workout for the day, you can imagine how intimidated I was to step into the F45 Training Toronto Downtown gym. It was the gym I would walk past everyday and constantly wonder why people would ever choose to workout in a space where people can see your every move.
I discover that the ‘F’ stands for functional training, and the ’45’ is a reference to the total time of each class.
On entering the King Street location in Toronto for a class with Heineken 0.0, there are bikes, kettle bells, weights and everything that screams to me I don’t know what I’m doing here—good start. Before I had time to panic, the instructors quickly let us know that instructions for every workout station they are about to show us will also be displayed on the screens around the room. My nerves start to relax as they demonstrate all nine stations that we will rotate on for 45 minutes and what is required at each one. It’s a quick and fast demonstration but they reiterate that it will all be shown on a screen right in front of you as you go.
The screens start counting down to begin the workout, the music kicks in loud and the energy in the room is electric. So it begins.
Starting at station one, I dive right in. I watch the screen as I’m going and try my best to do what is being shown; it’s like a personal trainer telling me exactly what to do. The instructors are constantly circulating adjusting peoples form and assisting anyone who needs it but most of all giving motivational encouragement over the music. I start to understand why people do this.
The main thing that kept me going was knowing I could chug an alcohol-free Heineken as soon as I was done (seriously they have a fridge stocked right when you walk in). The screen counts down in green telling how much time is left in your set and then again in red for your rest times—but the music never stops. Instructions pop up on the screen again with information on when it’s time to move to the next spot and where, and just like that it’s go time for the next station.
In the span of only 45 minutes, I worked every muscle in my body, and as sweaty and sore as I was, I felt accomplished. On the second last station, one of the instructor’s shouts “Look out and see everyone on that streetcar looking in right now wishing they were you,” and all of a sudden the transparent walls made sense. During the circuits, none of us were looking outside wondering if we were being watched or judged. In that very moment, I was so proud of myself to be inside looking out instead of outside looking in.