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New HIIT has hit Dublin

The owner of F45 Grangegorman studio talks to The Liberty about being the new kid on the gym block, F45 Training, HIIT and staying in shape. 

F45 provides a new take on the typical gym-based workout. The Australian workout sensation that is attracting global attention has reached Dublin. This workout is very different because it is a grilling workout with short pauses.

What does F45 stand for? “The ‘F’ is for Functional Training, a mix of Circuit and HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) style workouts geared towards everyday movement. While 45 is the total amount of time needed for sweat-dripping, heart-pumping fun. F45’s slogan is: Team Training. Life-Changing,” laughs Lucy Kirby. 

“We first opened in September 2020 and we were closed for lockdowns two and three, so we ran live online workouts over Zoom until we could reopen for good in June 2021.

“We were in Australia then we decided to move to Ireland to be closer to our families as Thomas is from Tipperary and I am from Oxfordshire, England. We wanted to have a family of our own as well. We had a baby at the same time as fitting out the studio. Zoe like the gym is only 18 months old now,” says Kirby.

It seems that the newer generation is easily bored. It gave us fast-fashion, fast-food and a fast lifestyle. But it doesn’t stop there, even exercise has to keep up with the changing, fluid times – hence the emergence of F45.

TV screens are dotted around the studio to guide you through the workout. When you preview each exercise in gif format, you count down the workout for each station, and it also indicates when to move forward or rest.

The idea is simple, and global. Every F45 studio world-wide runs the exact same class everyday. This incorporates functional movements that targets fat loss, builds and maintains lean muscle mass, improves energy levels and metabolic rate and increases strength and endurance.

“Aesthetics is often the number one reason why people workout.” 

-LUCY KIRBY ON WHAT INSPIRES PEOPLE TO WORKOUT

“HIIT workouts are an efficient way to burn calories and exercise the entire body in a short period of time. All exercises are designed to mimic what we do in real life, like pushing, pulling, lifting and stabilising the body. All F45 workouts are HIIT – this type of training requires that members do vigorous activity for a short period of time, followed by a short rest interval,” says Kirby.

There are days of alternating exercises like HIIT, cardio and strength. “On ‘cardio days’ the challenge might be to complete 45-second sets of box jumps or mountain climbers. On ‘strength days’ the challenge might be to complete 35-second sets of reverse lunges with bicep curls or push-ups. We have over 5,000 exercises to offer,” adds Kirby.

Like other gyms, the equipment is varied. The whole body is targeted in the workout every day rather than only a specific part of the body.

F45 has some cardio equipment like Concept 2 rowers, bikes, Ski-ergs – though mostly it’s free weights like dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells plus other equipment like TRX suspension trainers, battle ropes, prowlers, skipping ropes etc. We buy an equipment pack from F45 headquarters. It is all part of the franchise agreement and the equipment is the biggest expense after the cost of fitting out the premises,” says Kirby.  

 

Thomas & Lucy Kirby, owners of F45 with baby Zoe. Photo Credit: L. Kirby 

Moving from Australia to Dublin, “We saw great potential in the Irish fitness market and knew it was the perfect time to move and open up a F45 studio,” says Kirby. 

“We came from a mature Health & Fitness market in Australia. We could see the Irish market was growing and each generation is more interested in being healthy. The gym was becoming a part of their everyday life a lot earlier than before. The team training culture in Ireland through GAA is a perfect fit for F45 too,” says Kirby.

“Training is a big part of our lives; it was the first thing we had in common when Tom and I met in Sydney. We are also passionate about helping people. Exercise helps one to feel so much better about oneself both physically and mentally,” says Kirby. 

F45 session. Photo Credit: F45 

“Being part of a global franchise has some benefits, like the training available to our trainers. The F45 Academy has modules about the brand, the workouts, body movement patterns. It is a great resource. We can then also run internal sessions to share know-how with each other,” says Kirby.

People mostly go to the gym to feel better about their physical self. “Aesthetics is often the number one reason why people workout. People want to feel good about their reflection. They often want to lose weight or change their shape or gain muscle,” says Kirby.

“Another popular reason to exercise is to feel mentally stronger and be equipped to cope with daily life. While for some, they simply enjoy working out,” observes Kirby.

Traditionally pubs were the meeting points in Ireland now gyms and restaurants have also become a social gathering point. “We are building a strong community in F45 Grangegorman and we love seeing people getting to know each other in classes and out of them too.

“We are aiming to open another F45 studio in the next couple of years. Probably somewhere in County Dublin,” says Kirby.

“I dream about owning multiple F45 studios and working full-time in the business. At the moment both of us have full-time jobs and run F45 alongside them,” smiles Kirby.  

Why Grangegorman? “We were looking for a residential area near the city. F45 Grangegorman is perfectly located between Smithfield and Stoneybatter and close to Phibsboro – three trendy suburbs where a lot of people will be familiar with F45 possibly from time spent abroad in Australia or America. We are also in the middle of a few Luas stops. There are lots of Dublin Bikes around as well as on-street parking. So, we are easily accessible.  

“Being so close to TU Dublin is a great advantage too with plenty of students and lecturers nearby. We would love to have more TU Dublin members.”

F45 training studio is located at Unit 3, Ardcairn House, 8a Grangegorman Lower, Dublin 7.  

Workout session. Photo Credit: F45
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