Review: High-intensity functional training

This high-intensity workout will leave you feeling like death and a total badass all at once

By Florence Song | Published: 18 Feb 2016

Review: Honey Badger
Photo: ELLE Malaysia

What it is
High-intensity functional training

Where it is
Honey Badgers Coaching Facility, C-G-45, Block Camillia, 10 Boulevard, Lebuhraya Sprint, PJU 6A, 47400 PJ, Selangor

Why we love it
Don't let the welcoming, cosy vibe of this gym fool you. Sure, it's a visually-stunning space quite unlike the usual gym set-up of exposed elements and loud, tacky EDM blaring from the speakers; we're talking warm yellow lights, rustic bare brick walls, a bar area complete with high stools selling bottled cold brew coffee and post-workout cocktails (fancy!), and chalkboard art that's reminiscent of your neighbourhood hipster café. But not all is as unassuming as it seems, as the workouts are more intense than you can imagine.

I started by warming up with the Badger Drill (a compulsory set of stretching movements meant to mobilise your body before, you know, the tough stuff), before proceeding with a personal assessment by my assigned instructor. If you're a beginner, this is an important step that you shouldn't skip. Your trainer will assess your fitness levels through a series of strength and body weight workouts and assign you to the correct weights and movements tailored to suit your abilities.

After that, it was time to go through the basics for the BadgerWOD (as the workouts of the day are called) for our session today. The WOD for this session consisted of four rounds of seven squat cleans, 14 chest-to-floor pushups, 21 burpees and 28 weighed step-ups for time, which meant that we had to complete all four rounds in the shortest amount of time possible. Once our trainer finished taking us through the movement reviews, making sure we could perform the prescribed movements with proper form and scaling down a movement for us wherever we couldn't (e.g: high-pulls instead of squat cleans), it was game time.

Everything was a daze from the moment the clock buzzer sounded, signifying the start of our WOD. I was mid-way through my second round when my lungs started screaming for air. Everything hurt. But I was determined to finish the WOD in my race against the clock. The burpees I could do, but the pushups were a bitch, seeing that my upper body strength was practically zero to none. At this point, I wasn't sure if I was merely sweating or crying as I pushed through the workout amidst cheers from my trainer and fellow session-mates who were already done with their routine.

At last, after what felt like the longest and most painful 15 minutes of my life, I was done. I crumpled to the floor as everyone around me threw each other high-fives and fistbumps for the effort. Strangely enough, even though I felt like a complete wreck, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. Who knew I had it in me to pull through an intense workout?

So yes, the process was hard as hell, but the end result? Sweetly satisfying.

Why you should do it
1. It's fun, challenging and empowering
You'll often be in situations where you are using 100% of your effort to finish a workout, exhausting yourself, and forcing yourself through incredible amounts of pain but you'll surprise yourself by doing things you never thought you would be able to do and taking your body places you never thought it could go. Strong is the new sexy here.

2. It's a shorter, more intense workout
Most WODs take less than 20 minutes to complete, so you'll feel like you've really worked your entire body without having to spend hours at the gym. That excuse about not having time to work out? Not applicable here.

3. It's for everyone regardless of your fitness levels
Even if you've never weight-trained before, it's a great place to start as the workouts are tailored to your abilities.

4. You'll enjoy a great sense of community, support and camaraderie
Everyone is gunning for you to complete the WOD and are willing to help improve your form and keep you going when you feel like giving up.

Honey Badgers Coaching Facility runs on a paid membership basis, but you can also drop in for their high-intensity functional training open sessions on Saturdays at 10am or 3pm for a fee of RM15 per session.

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