11 November 2019
F45’s ‘functional’ fitness brings more fun to CB1
A new fitness concept opened this autumn on the ground floor of 50/60 Station Road, headed up by the buoyant personality, Sarah Craske. We chat about the new venture and why she wanted to bring the concept to CB1.
What is F45 all about?
F45 is a class-based studio. There’s no fixed equipment so it’s not a traditional gym. The name stands for ‘functional training’ in 45-minute bursts.
What differentiates F45 from a regular gym?
Every class has two trainers, rather than one giving instructions from the front. After a warm-up and demonstration, all exercises and navigation are shown on screens and the instructors spend more time with the members one-on-one, so every class is like a personal training session.
Different class types – described as ‘Romans’ or ‘Athletica’ - have one-off curated playlists, with pop anthems setting the beat during dance-based classes, and base-infused beats for weights sessions. On Saturdays, classes stretch to an hour and are accompanied by a live DJ!
At what times do classes run?
There are classes seven days a week, mixing up cardio on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with slower-pace, resistance-focused classes on Tuesday and Thursday. Saturday’s workout - ‘Hollywood’ - is an hour-long, combining strength training and cardio, with the DJ on the decks. I don’t know many other gyms that make workouts like a night out!
Why this style of work-out?
Alternating between cardio and resistance allows you to come every day because the classes work different body parts. You’ll never do the same workout twice, and it becomes addictive. Until you’ve done it, you can’t understand the feeling.
Who is F45 for?
F45 is accessible at all levels from beginners to those that are very fit. The classes are time-based so everyone can go at their own pace. Our members might live or work in CB1, elsewhere in Cambridge, or commute; the proximity to the station and the early, lunchtime and late classes suit everyone’s rhythms.
Where does this concept come from?
It’s really quite a new concept. Starting out of Bondai in 2012, there are now more F45s than Starbucks in Australia. It expanded through the far east and landed in the UK in spring 2017. Since the first opening on Tottenham Court Road, there are now 30 in the UK. F45 is part and parcel of the Aussie healthy lifestyle, for which there’s a big demand here.
How did you find the space in 50/60 Station Road?
I used to commute into London from my home in Trumpington, going to the gym at that end. You always want your home town to have the best amenities, but there was nothing class-based in Cambridge. CB1 was the obvious location to set up, not only because it’s a stone’s throw from the station but for the concentration of businesses here; the people who work at CB1 are keen for our type of training!
What’s the atmosphere of F45 at 50/60?
There’s already a really good community within our membership. You see people making friends in class, and on social media, hanging out outside of class. We have a really welcoming atmosphere: new joiners are really scooped up – you’re not left to do your own thing. Energetic, friendly and inclusive is how I’d describe us. Quite unusually for gyms, we’re at street level, so we get amazing daylight while people can’t easily peer in.
How has the take-up been so far in CB1?
Brilliant. Pop-up classes during Wimbledon week over the summer proved popular with CB1 regulars. We then had a little opening party in September with drinks by The Copper Tree, discounts on Sweaty Betty apparel and, of course, a live DJ.
What’s your impression of CB1 as a place now?
Having commuted through CB1 almost every day for over ten years, I’ve seen its evolution. Whenever we tell people where the studio is, the response is always “wow what an amazing location!” There’s a high footfall and a mix of people. With the opening of buildings such as 50/60 Station Road, the population increases and the place gets more lively. We wanted to be part of this growth!
How does F45 add to the Estate?
There’s nothing else like it in CB1. It’s one more step in bringing more amenities to the area, giving people all the more reason to live in the area, join a company based here, or set one up!
We are offering private hire of the studio for team building events for companies based in CB1 or other group activities, and we’re looking to work with local residents in and out of the studio.
What’s your ambition for F45 in CB1?
I’d like to keep building a strong community of F45 members. It’s when the residents and other groups in the community integrate that an area gets that vibrant, varied feel. We bring the fun with fitness, and people seem happy to have it here on their doorstep.
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