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  • Writer's picturePat Browne

F45 was my game changer

Community • Encouragement • Challenge

We’ve talked about community as one of the essentials for good mental health. But what does community mean to you? For me, community is a sense of safety, acceptance and encouragement. Encouragement to reach for my best self, acceptance of that self and the safety to try new things. I have found all of that within this neighbourhood. I have also found that at our local gym – F45.

Many of you have seen Joe and I walking our dogs – still decked out in our sweaty togs – after our morning sweat session. For the last 4 years, we’ve been going to classes at F45 Don Mills (one of the hardest things for me during lock-down was not being able to go to the gym). In all the years that I’ve been a gym-rat, this is the most amazing atmosphere that I have found.

I'm told that F45 is the fastest growing fitness franchise in the world. I can believe that. Founded on the principals of acceptance, encouragement and support, the F stands for "functional training" (a mix of circuit and HIIT style workouts geared towards everyday movements), and the 45 is the average class length. Each session is a unique combination of exercises – so it’s never boring. This is team training, and for me, this is life changing.

The F45 Don Mills studio has people of all ages, genders, and fitness levels, and not once did I feel awkward, silly, or intimidated. The small class sizes mean there is a lot of time for one-on-one help, and almost every session feels like personal training. Everyone is welcome, from the super-fit to those just starting out. Over the years I’ve watched young people find fitness levels they never thought they would reach. I’ve seen a surgeon understand how fitness changes the way he works. I’ve seen other members who've had hip replacements or knee replacements find new movements and abilities. For both Joe and I, it’s been finding a new definition of beauty and strength (ok, Joe may not have a new definition of beauty).

The workouts are intense. You work hard - sweat-dripping-off-your-nose kinda hard. This is HIIT training. Think explosive bursts of exercises followed by short recovery breaks. "I've learned you can do almost anything for 45 seconds and you value the 15 second breaks. But I’m also older, I modify the movements to accommodate reduced flexibility and aging knees. The trainers will constantly help with suggestions.”

The F45 Don Mills training studio is located in the Royal Bank building at the Shops of Don Mills. It’s a small training studio and only open during class times. The owner, Ahmad Atalla can be reached at or at437-981-8265. I’d highly encourage anyone who is looking for a supportive, accepting, and safe environment, give Ahmad a call.

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Sep 07, 2021

very cool - i bet it's great to be back at a gym!

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