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With vegan cafés and fitness studios popping up across Melbourne, it seems as though the city’s population is racing towards a healthier lifestyle. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to attend some of Melbourne’s most popular and diverse workout classes to test my physical and mental capabilities. I may have come away exhausted, short of breath and sore for days, but the sense of community and accomplishment was worth every sweaty second.
With 11 locations around Melbourne and nine more on the way, F45 is quickly becoming the workout of choice for time-poor Melburnians. The time-based, high-intensity class focuses on innovation, motivation, and results, and with new workouts daily, there’s no room for complacency.
I attended a class at the Port Melbourne studio, and as I stood on the sidelines, awaiting the start of my session, I was immediately intimated as people who exemplify the very meaning of #fitspo walked out dripping with sweat. I took my starting position on the circuit and watched as the trainers demonstrated each workout. From battle ropes to push ups, skipping (it turns out I can’t skip), sand bags, rowing machines and pull ups in the cage, there was a variety of challenging exercises that activated every muscle in my body. The studio is also equipped with screens to guide you through the exercises in case you forget how to do something, and trust me, it will happen, and there’s also a timer which counts down the seconds of each interval. The trainers circle the floor, aiding anyone who needs assistance, and many of the workouts have options to suit different fitness and strength levels. F45 works to keep your heart rate high, and by the end, I was drenched and feeling strong. Afterwards, take a photo with the logo on the wall and upload it to social media because this is one workout you’ll want to brag about.
Fusing ballet and yoga, Barre Body aims to condition the body through interval training. There are three to four classes a week and four stunning locations in Melbourne, complete with mirrors, ballet barres, and soft lighting.
When preparing for the Barre Body ballet/yoga fusion class, my first thought was styling. A scroll through their Instagram page shows images of ballerina-esque poses, so although I wasn’t planning to have a Black Swan moment, I did pull out my best leggings. However, no matter what you wear, you’re unlikely to look graceful during your first class. Wobbling through pliés and other calf toning exercises is apparently a good thing, and although the vinyasa flow workout may seem low-impact, it will actually send your heart rate soaring as you attempt to hold a pose and accurately execute each stance. There are also light hand weight exercises to tone the arms, and the entire class is focused on sculpting lean muscles.
Created by Ashy Bines, the 12-week Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge is a results-based program which feels more like a sisterhood than a boot camp class. Upon joining, you’ll receive a nutrition plan to suit your body type and clean eating recipes. Plus, you’ll have access to your chosen location’s Facebook group where you are encouraged to post meal pictures and workouts for total accountability. There are over 70 locations across three countries, and every location has their own training ground – this could be anywhere from your local gym to a school basketball court.
Classes run six days a week with alternative morning and night sessions, but it’s completely up to you how many classes you want to attend. I suggest starting with three and working your way up. Each session runs for one hour, with a five-minute warm up at the start, which for my class entailed a few laps around the building. Each week, you’ll receive a schedule of the types of classes running, and these include boxing, death by cardio, AMRAP (as many reps as possible), legs and core sessions. There are also challenges such as a 600 rep challenge called Beat the Clock and WOR (workout of the round) as well as The Punisher. There will be days when you can hardly walk or catch your breath after class, but by the end of your first round, you’ll begin to see and feel the results.
Pulling a 20-kilo tyre may sound like a military grade assault course, but that’s exactly why this Melbourne-based interval training program is so popular. No matter your age or ability, Heavy Haulers is a way to increase your strength and fitness levels through a self-paced program where the goal is to improve on your previous numbers and scores.
Arriving at the empty multi-deck car park at Greensborough Plaza in the early hours of Saturday morning, I spot the tyres and ropes and wonder what I’ve signed myself up for. I keep in mind that Cameron Diaz is a fan of flipping tyres, and if she can do it, then so can I. I spend the next hour dragging, pushing and pulling tyres and ropes while scribbling down my scores the entire way through. The session is broken up into three rounds, and during the class, we complete 20-meter Tug of War Rows, 20-meter tyres drags, 10-meter power pulls, with some squat runs thrown in for good measure. By the time the sun came up, I was huffing and puffing and one-step closer to a Charlie’s Angels’ body.