This blog is not going to make me many friends. It’s edgy and confrontational. It pulls no punches and calls a spade a spade. If you’re easily offended, look away.
The fastest growing fitness franchise in the world that has taken a suburb near you by storm.
It promises rapid weight loss, fitness entertainment, and a training environment that is safe and run by exercise professionals.
But is it too good to be true? Are these legitimate claims or marketing hyperbole?
This blog will help you make up your own mind.
It’s not uncommon knowledge that I do not believe that large group classes are appropriate for the average person.
Just recently, I did a post on Facebook outlining some of my reasons for this, which I validated with not only common sense, but, evidence.
I have been thinking for a while about writing this blog, but I refrained as I did not want to appear as though I’m knocking other businesses.
However, the steady stream of new clients, people I know, and people my clients tell me about that are getting seriously injured at F45, has left me no choice but to address a few issues I feel are necessary to address…
F45 is fine if you know what you’re doing. Let me first of all say that. I actually have a couple of clients that attend F45 as well as train here with me, and they themselves have said it’s only due to what I have taught them here at Kinetic that they have been able to complete the workouts, pain and injury free.
F45 also has done a fantastic job with marketing their franchise model.
Any fitness professional — whether they are a seasoned veteran or fresh-outta PT school, can open one of they have 180+ sq/m and the upfront capital.
It requires no prior knowledge, no business skills, and no passion.
This low barrier to entry has made it a gold mine for trainers who want to run their own business and get to a huge pot of gold at the other end of the rainbow.
However, if you are someone that does not know what they are doing…
Or has not trained for a very long time…
Or has some sort of injury…
Or doesn’t like high-energy training environments…
Or needs a graduated approach to exercise and activity…
Or needs a comprehensive nutrition and exercise plan…
Or needs to address their habits and self-limiting beliefs…
Or needs more than a cheerleader for a trainer…
Then pleased heed my warning… F45 is NOT for you.
If you do not know how to maintain a neutral spine, or indeed have never even heard that phrase before, you are more than likely going to get yourself into some injury trouble.
If you do not know how to properly activate your core musculature in order to stabilise your spine, you are more than likely going to get yourself into some injury trouble.
If you have no business jumping, leaping, bounding or doing any other sort of plyometric movement (which is anyone outside the athletic population), then you are more than likely going to get yourself into some injury trouble.
So you might be thinking…
Geez, this guy is bitter…
Yes, I am. F45 — for all it’s upside — has a dark downside, and up until now, a tiny minority have been brave enough to tell people about it…
Here is my basis for saying this. I have heard more reports than I can count from various new clients, or friends of clients, or my own friends and family, of either sustaining themselves, or witnessing others sustain, injuries including but not limited to:
1. Lower backs going TWANG during Deadlifts
2. Lower backs going TWANG during seated battle ropes (yep, seated????)
3. Elbows going SNAP when a lady has fallen out of a band assisted chin up
4. Spinal discs saying GOODBYE during a sled push
5. Ankles going CRUNCH after doing box jumps to failure
The list goes on, but you are getting the gist.
Again, let me reiterate, if you know what you’re doing I have absolutely zero problem with you attending F45; if you can do it safely, and you enjoy it, more power to you. Go for it. That should realistically be F45’s target market.
But it’s not.
They are attracting more and more people who may have never set foot in a gym before, but have been lured in by the culture, clever marketing and the need to be a part of something ‘trendy’ or ‘cool’.
This is a problem.
For a majority of the untrained general population, there is a process they should follow in terms of their exercise progression. At Kinetic, we get people to first demonstrate competency controlling their own bodyweight, then we slowly add weight, usually starting with light dumbells, before finally allowing people to utilise barbells and perform more complex movements. Obviously within this is addressing whatever mobility/activation issues most people possess.
To the best of my knowledge, there is no such process at F45. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, the sessions finish and there is not even a cool down period where everyone stretches/foam rolls, which as we know via numerous studies, is crucial for recovery and injury prevention.
I started Kinetic because I genuinely care about people, their bodies, and wanting them to live a pain-free, sustainably healthy lifestyle.
That is the only motivation for me writing this blog, I actually give a fuck about people’s health and wellbeing, and I couldn’t stand idly by any longer listening to these tales of these poor people putting their trust into the supposed ‘experts’, only to have their bodies broken by shocking exercise selection, compounded by minimal to no supervision during said exercises.
For anyone currently attending an F45, or thinking about an F45, I have this to say…
THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES.
F45 is not the be all and end all. It is not the sole way to getting fit. In fact, there are PLENTY of other avenues that are going to be far, far better for you in both the short and long-term.
Your body may actually be suited to 1 on 1 personal training, because that’s the level of supervision you need.
You may be better suited to a place with smaller class sizes, so as you can be corrected when you’re doing an exercise wrong.
You may be better suited to doing a couple of clinical pilates classes per week, as your core really needs work before supporting any sort of external load.
Shit, you might even be better off simply just going for runs and doing bodyweight exercises at your local park.
All I am saying is, there are alternatives.
You do not have to put up with constant, nagging pain.
Getting injured regularly is NOT the fucking norm when it comes to exercise.
A constantly sore back/knee/shoulder is not normal… “No pain no gain” is not a thing.
Just because everyone else is seemingly doing it, does not make it the right way.
Would I recommend coming to Kinetic, of course I would.
But ultimately, I just want to try and get across that for a majority of you, F45 may be doing more harm than good.
As I said, I have enough friends already, so if you have read this and don’t like it… pack up your bosu balls and jog on.