The 6 toughest workouts in Melbourne - Juice Daily
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The 6 toughest workouts in Melbourne

Are you a hardcore fitness fanatic or a weekend warrior? Do you want your workout to be worth every second you spend there?

Here’s the thing: After founding Bodypass’s Melbourne network of studios in early 2015, I’ve experienced almost every type of class at every type of studio across Melbourne – no exaggeration.

If you’re looking for the toughest workouts Melbourne has to offer, here is the definitive list of my six hardest classes for those who are game enough to try them. Or perhaps you just want to recommend some killer workouts to unsuspecting friends, family or co-workers! Here they are, in no particular order:

Cycle Collective –  Richmond


Hands down one of the hardest, most lung-busting workouts in Melbourne is the spin class at the Cycle Collective.

This 45 minute high-intensity cycle class will push you to your physical and mental limit. How, you ask?

Each CycleOps IC 300 Pro bike is technologically equipped to display your power in watts, cadence, kms travelled and calories burnt. These stats are broadcast live to two large screen TVs during the class and your metrics will move fluidly move up and down in accordance to how hard you’re working throughout the session.

You’ll also be given a zone card which you’ll use to hit certain zones as the instructors require you to. Your numbers won’t lie, there’s no slacking off, if you’re not working hard, you’ll be exposed.

Needless to say, the first time I rode off against co-founder Chris Sinclair, I came off the bike in a world of hurt. I’m not ashamed to say I nearly passed out and needed some jelly beans to prop me up.

There is a massive upside to spin classes and that is that there is no DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) so I didn’t experience any fatigue or soreness in the days following my workout.

Effort rating: 10
Sweat rating: 10
Intensity rating: 9
Strength rating: 6
Recovery rating: 10

The HIIT Factory – Yarraville


The HIIT Factory’s Insanity class is just how it sounds. It’s an aerobics class on steroids, made for those who need an outlet to push themselves to the absolute extreme.

A real test of your physical fitness, the Insanity class combines only bodyweight movements in a strength and cardiovascular workout.

Movements include jump squats, burpees, push-ups, high knees, mountain climbers and variations of these basic movements. With four exercises, back to back for 40 seconds with no breaks, each three to four sets become a killer workout in itself. Now try doing four to five phases of those three to four sets! Each 40 seconds starts to feel like an eternity. Sometimes all I could think about was when it was going to end.

By the 15 minute mark I was close to hitting my wall and started to find out a little bit about my mental strength. It’s that moment when you ask yourself, is this physical or just mental? Turns out it’s a bit of both. I was thinking about giving in and sitting out the next phase, but luckily for me my pride kicked in and I pushed through. Pretty soon I was frantically wiping sweat off my brow so I could actually see what Colette was demonstrating up ahead. She’s blasting out words like “Here we go!” “Keep it up!” and “Don’t stop!” and so forth whilst I manage to painfully push on.

When we weren’t moving quickly we were holding isometric patterns for 40-60 seconds at a time. Think planks, pushups and variations of upper body movements.

With an endless selection of bodyweight exercises that continue to be rolled out at anytime, it almost feels like you’re going to work yourself to death. Props to the trainers at The HIIT Factory, they certainly know how to keep the intensity level at 10 all times.

As an inspiration to all mums out there, Colette’s found a formula that works best for those who have a lot on their plate and can only squeeze in 30 mins a day for exercise.

Effort rating: 10
Sweat rating: 10
Intensity rating: 10
Strength rating: 7
Recovery rating: 7

Apparatus – Melbourne


Apparatus’s TRX classes are easily one of the hardest workouts in Melbourne, incorporating suspension training in a functional fitness format. Without too much jumping or heaving Apparatus’s TRX workouts manage to give you a special type of painful intensity that pushes your muscles and lungs to their limits.

For those who are unfamiliar, the TRX was invented by a former US Navy Seal to keep troops in peak physical fitness whilst on deployment.

It’s immediately obvious that I reach my maximum intensity level fast because the TRX is forcing me to perform a regular bodyweight exercise but on a suspended and unstable surface. On average it’s about three to five times more difficult than they would be for the same amount of time without suspension.

One of the movements is a foot suspended plank which means that your feet sit in the TRX footholds. By taking away the stable surface that you would rely on, you’re forced to focus on your core muscles and every other muscle in your body is brought into play to hold you in position. We do mountain climbers, side climbers and double legged mountain climbers in the suspended foothold position. I soon begin to shake uncontrollably. By the end the burn was overpowering and I had to drop to the floor. Often the movements only lasted for 30-50 seconds at a time.

I still remember the moment I came off the TRX at the end of class, looked around and saw seven other bodies sprawled across the ground, each lying on their backs gasping for breath, arms flung to the side in a position that said “I’m done”.

Effort rating: 9
Sweat rating: 8
Intensity rating: 8-10
Strength rating: 9
Recovery rating: 8

Gript PT – South Yarra


One of Melbourne’s best kept fitness secrets, Gript PT is a no gimmicks, hardcore training fitness studio and one of Melbourne’s best. Expect to be wiped out after every session.

With 12 stations, 40/20 second work/rest ratios you’ll be doing 32 minutes of actual exercise. The stations include some of the toughest exercises in functional fitness including pushing a prowler with 60kg of weights up a 20 metre track, waves with heavy battle ropes, barbell overhead truck rotations, kettlebell swings, barbell lunges, box jumps and more.

To make things a little tougher, I had Drew breathing down my neck ensuring I perform each rep correctly. This is great because it ensures I’m performing my reps with correct form but it also means each movement is a lot harder and I can’t cheat reps. I feel accountable for each exercise I do, much more than if I was to hit the gym alone.

I find this class gasses me out quickly. Being able to continually perform perfect repetitions becomes a struggle around the 20 minute mark, a combination of muscle fatigue and nearing my VO2 max is the barrier.

Drew wanders over to check on how I’m going. I can tell he’s not quite sure whether I’m capable of answering his questions yet, hesitating whilst I lie gasping for breath.

“So, how did you find that?”

“That was incredibly hard,” I tell him I’ll be back soon but perhaps not tomorrow.

Effort rating: 9
Sweat rating: 10
Intensity rating: 8
Strength rating: 8
Recovery rating:8

5th Element Wellness – Fitzroy North

5ht element

Strongman classes at 5th Element Wellness are as tough and as fun as it gets. A community orientated class, this is my favorite way to start the weekend.

Each class is structured so that you’ll be working with a partner of similar strength and size. You’ll rotate through stations but the exercises aren’t the usual movements you get at a fitness studio. Think bear crawls, tyre flips, rope climbs, farmer’s carry and much more.

All the movements and lifts replicate primal movement patterns or just regular everyday activities, whether that be lifting a suitcase, climbing a cliff face, changing your car tyre, moving furniture, or pushing a lawn mower or trolley.

I’ve had such a great time at these classes that I’m always bringing people along to train with me here. It’s also very very tough so be prepared!

Effort rating: 9
Sweat rating: 10
Intensity rating: 8
Strength rating: 9
Recovery rating: 7

Happy Melon – Armadale


Happy Melon’s bright, light-filled studio feels more like a home than a place of fitness, yoga and meditation. A place of zen, I was lured into a false sense of security. Expecting their reformer pilates classes to be a breeze I strolled into class confidently expecting to smash the workout, unfortunately for me, I was mentally unprepared for what followed.

The reformer classes pose a different type of difficulty. There was no heart pounding exercises that require me to jump across the room, fling heavy weights in every direction, or sprint from side to side.

Instead I’m specifically honing into targeted muscle groups, with the lunges on the reformer bed hitting my quads time and time again until I reached a point where I could lunge no more. I took the severe burning sensation to mean that I needed a break.

I was working a lot slower which meant I could actually really feel the muscle contracting and expanding. Hitting the whole body but focusing on core work throughout, the entire reformer was put to good use. Footbars to push into wide squats, one legged squats, calf raises, elevated planks and so forth.

I found this type of workout to be just as challenging as any high-intensity workout, given the smaller, repetitive movements that require 100% focus on form and technique. Definitely worth testing yourself at Happy Melon’s beautiful studio where you can be sure that you’ll get the attention and focus on technique and form from the well qualified instructors on site.

This would be my recommendation for a tough workout that doesn’t require running, lifting heavy or plyometric movements.

Effort rating: 8
Sweat rating: 6
Intensity rating: 8
Strength rating: 9
Recovery rating: 10

Clarence Ho

About the person who wrote this

Clarence Ho

Clarence is one of the co-founders of Bodypass, a qualified personal trainer, and excellent person all round. He's completely immersed in the world of health and fitness and is always on the lookout for the next big fit thing.

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