Open For Fitness: F45 Training Kāhala

We try the latest workout phenomenon to hit Honolulu.

Editor’s Note: Stacey and Katrina are at vastly different fitness levels (and ages) but both enjoy working out. We thought it’d be fun for the two of them to try new or interesting workouts together each month. This month, we sent them to the new F45 gym in Kāhala.


f45 Hawaii Training

Photo: Courtesy of F45 Training Hawai‘i 



F45 is a functional training workout that started in Australia. What does that mean? It’s a circuit training program that works every part of your body including your arms, legs, core and, of course, the booty.


At the Kāhala gym, the exercises change daily so you never get the same workout twice. Monday, Wednesday and Friday the routines are usually heavy on cardio. Trainers demonstrate each workout and video cues keep you on track.


Before we get into our experience, a little background about us:


Stacey: I grew up playing soccer, so I’m a cardio-holic. But, since an ACL and a couple of meniscus tears, my exercise routine is limited to light running, swimming, CorePower Yoga and quick games of volleyball or tennis. The latter two would highly annoy my orthopedic surgeon. I work out mostly every morning to get centered and to release any negative bullsh*t in my head.


Katrina: I finally joined a gym earlier this year and do my best to go four days a week before work. My usual routine consists of 20 minutes on the elliptical, followed by a few sets of (light) weightlifting or calisthenics.

  Katrina and Stacey

katrina and stacey post-workout. the camera wouldn’t focus because it was covered in sweat.



Stacey: Nervous. I’ve done circuit training before and knew there would be a lot of weights (ugh) involved. I have no upper body strength and squats are as dreadful as they sound.


Katrina: Pumped! I had oatmeal for breakfast so I’d have plenty of energy. I didn’t get nervous until we walked inside and literally everybody there already had a great body. I thought, Am I gonna be able to keep up?



The setup involves three workout stations that each include three exercise pods. Every participant must complete four 20-second rounds at each pod. After you complete one workout station you move on to the next. There are 10-second breaks between each pod exercise and a one-minute break between station changes. After 45 minutes, you’ve completed 72 exercises. Whew!

  f45 Training

trainers kelsea sloss and nicole acosta, who led our group of 27 through all 72 exercises.


Pod 1

We began in the left pod, starting with the rowing machines. Then we moved to do squats with sandbags—neither of us have strong knees, so our trainers let us know we could just do regular squats if we wanted to. The last workout in this pod was an alternating-leg burpee—basically a one-legged pushup followed by a hop, and then you switch legs and do it again.


Katrina: That last workout was a hard no for both of us. Stacey did regular burpees while I alternated between jumping and just lying on the floor. Fake it till you make it. I missed half the water break because I couldn’t get up.


Stacey: It was a rough one to start off with, but it definitely got the blood pumpin’. Rowing was easy. Squats with sandbags? Like Katrina said, we faked it. Burpee pushups? Modified it to a regular pushup and burpee and it still killed me.

  f45 Training

the f45 studio uses simple weights to add difficulty to various workouts.


Pod 2

After the one-minute water break, we moved to the center pod with standing bicycles, which you can adjust to increase or decrease resistance. The second exercise involved lifting a medicine ball overhead, slamming it down on the ground and squatting to pick it up. We used the lightest ones, at 13 pounds. Neither of us could perform the third workout—jumping pushups on a flat-side-up BOSU ball—so we did easier variations.


Katrina: Those medicine balls in the second workout were no joke, even though you’re just dropping a ball over and over. By the time I got to the pushups, I just lay down again until the trainers walked by and gave me high-fives.


Stacey: The biking offered a nice break; when you pretend the resistance button is broken, it’s a smooth ride. Slamming the medicine ball really worked the arms and core. Bonus: It gets out a lot of aggression. In life, is there really a need for a BOSU ball? Maybe I’m just jealous that the girl next to me, who was half my size, made the exercise look easy while I sweated hard doing a half-pushup without jumping.


Pod 3

The third pod—home stretch!—featured jumping lunges, burpees with kettlebells (we used the lightest again, at 18 pounds, and did more of a squat/plank variation), and ice skaters, where you jump from left to right foot with the other leg trailing behind like a speed skater.


Katrina: Jumping lunges sounded dangerous, so I just did regular ones. It’s nice that each workout can be made more or less intense depending on your body and fitness level. The ice skaters were really fun—and surprisingly intense for my core—but by that point, I was ready to collapse.


Stacey: My bum knee got me out of doing jumping lunges. I actually enjoyed the burpees with kettlebells since we got to sub in planking. Planking is an easy way to work the entire core. And, pretending to be Apolo Ohno in the last lap was the perfect way to end the workout.

  f45 Training

each station is set up in advance so once the clock beeps, you know exactly where to go.



Stacey: I didn’t feel too tired, probably because I modified a lot of the exercises. Trust me, the workouts are intense if you go all balls-to-the-wall. All the ripped people in there are inspiration and proof. I did love the cardio portion: burpees, spinning, rowing and speedskater gliding. Honestly, because I didn’t stretch my workout too far, I could’ve gone for a quick run after. But, the next day, my inner thighs and pecs were on fire and every time I moved quickly, jolts of pain reminded me to listen to Kendrick Lamar and sit down, be humble.


Would I do it again? Maybe. Circuit training is not my favorite, but the 45 minutes went by surprisingly fast. I worked out muscles I never knew I had before and the extra-friendly trainers were as supportive as a good sports bra.


Katrina: Stacey’s crazy. I got tired during the warmup. I couldn’t even summon the energy to pick up my water bottle from the floor when we were leaving (but once I did, I drank all 40 ounces). My Achilles tendon and the muscle above my knee hurt. I could literally feel my muscles when I walked the rest of the day. Is that normal? But I like working out different parts of my body and appreciated having instructors show me what to do and correct me when my form was off. I only went to the wrong station once. I do wish there was more time switching between workouts, especially when you have to get settled on a machine (rower or bicycle).


Overall, I’d definitely do this again. I could hardly move for the next two days—squatting and sitting down were the worst, and I iced my ankle just to be safe, but pain is how you know it’s working, right? My muscles hurt for four days.

  F45 Training Hawai‘i




F45 Kāhala is located in the strip mall with Petland and Great Harvest Bread Co., near Kāhala Mall, at 4400 Kalaniana‘ole Highway. Sign up for a free one-week trial at, call (808) 688-3572 or email Check out the different classes on the schedule, which range from resistance training to endurance.