There are lots of new gyms popping up just in time for us to make our New Year's fitness resolutions. Plenty of choices, and you know I love trying them out. Luckily, it's not an ice cream shop appearing on every corner or I'd be in some serious trouble. F45 is Kirkland's newest workout facility in Howard Mandeville Gallery's old space at 120 Park Lane. They opened three weeks ago and are super enthusiastic to be here, especially since this location had the highest number of membership pre-sales in the entire company. Globally (1200 studios/38 countries). Way to go Kirkland.
Kirkland F45 owner, Rohit (Ro for short) Chopra, was kind enough to extend an invitation to me and my morning workout partners. I think it's notable that I had 3 women and 3 men friends confirmed and that ALL of the boys chickened out that morning. Just sayin'. It happened to be 'strength day.' So shout-out to my ladies Christin, Megan and Mari for flexin' their girl power (photo). F45 represents functional training and they get you in/out of there in 45 minutes. Saturdays they have a DJ (boom!) and class is an hour. There are 2 trainers per class and Sonia and Catrina brought their positive vibes and helpful tips to our class. Here's how it went...
Everyone rolls into the big room that has stations already set up for us. We form a long line at the front of the class so we can all see while the trainers quickly demonstrate what happens at each station. Classes can have up to 27 people (3 pods of 9 stations) but ours had about 14 , so we had 3 pods of 6 stations each. As Sonia was starting to show us the stations (photo), I was getting a bit worried that my little pea brain was not going to remember all of these. Thank goodness for technology. There are screens at the front of the room that have a short video clip of the movements for each station. Then trainers split us all up into our 3 groups or 'pods' and we started the circuit workout. Workouts are programmatic, similar to Orange Theory or Crossfit, where the workout has been pre-written, in this case by a team of PhD Functional Trainers, given a name and is the same workout given to all of their locations everywhere that day. We did the 'Angry Birds' workout, while others have names like 'Foxtrot' or 'Wingman.'
Once we started we'd go from numbered station to station within our pod. Trainers walked around to help orient us to the flow and correct our posture on various movements. We went around each pod 3 times, with the time shortening a little each round. Then we'd move on to the next pod with our group. Each station had a few weight/resistance options that you could self-select based on your preference. I went light to make sure I could focus on where the heck I was going (a little confusing at first) and to increase my chances of doing the movement properly. There is no time to stare out the window onto Park Lane for some people-watching. The video animation on the screens is super helpful, which is also where the timer is running and of course it is all set to music as well.
This was super fun- there's good energy with a room full of people. The trainers were enthusiastic and the workout kept you focused on what you were doing because you were constantly moving. The first time is definitely a bit confusing ( where do I go next? what am i doing here?) but I'm sure with 2-3 classes under your belt the format would become second nature. My crew of ladies agreed and also appreciated the hands-on trainers and ability to modify exercises as needed. I think I could burn off a good handful of Christmas cookies if I kept going. Ro is going to be opening (10) F45's- Capitol Hill, Kirkland, and downtown Woodinville will be next. His background is engineering- he used to work for Disney-but he wanted to do something in fitness where he could help people gain mobility, agility and strength while excelling at customer service.
There are typically 10 classes a day running from 5am until 7:30pm. There are no membership contracts, it's a weekly membership that ranges from $45/week for 2x/wk and $69/wk for unlimited classes. There are incentives for longer commitments and you can always freeze your policy. They also do 8 wk challenges that include a results-focused meal app- you can download this for free. Parking is on the street or library or pay lot. There are showers and towels on site, but no childcare. Your first class is always FREE- just register here. Sounds like there may be some holiday specials coming out soon too. Call 425-749-4216 if you prefer chatting with a human.