The Brave Shapes review: An AI-driven strength training session conducted at a slower pace
Tried and tested
The lowdown: It's an odd revelation when someone tells you fitness — specifically movements you power through in an F45 class — can be executed in a slower motion. Especially when your body is used to HIIT workouts that warrant a 300-calorie burn in 45 minutes. Well The Brave Shapes is here to challenge that theory of mindless calorie-counting, rather directing the focus to a glacial burn and holding the correct form. Their stand takes a different approach, as they believe HIIT sessions wouldn't exactly be the most sustainable in the long run and might even lead to injury. The gym functions as a safe space (for all ages and shapes) to achieve your individual fitness goal. That could range from attaining a successful pull-up to losing that muffin top.
Everyone who comes through will undergo an initiation of sorts — a session to gauge your personal fitness ability in a series of exercises by one of the trainers here. After which, based off your fitness goal, you'll receive a personal workout regime designed by their in-built AI system. Execution comes at your own pace, while guided by the trainer. The tech is backed by math to allocate your workouts for the day, tailored to be precise just so the individual does just enough — no more and no less. Evans, founder and chief trainer of the gym, took us through a couple of simple exercises — from chest-to-floor push-ups, hip lifts, TRX pull-ups, and many more. The main difference was going through them in a much slower pace than what I was used to in a typical HIIT session. Between the sets, were breaks that felt a little too long, but served their own purpose for the body to recover. The pauses within also allowed Evans to enlighten us on our bodies, specifically the anatomy of muscles and bones, that we couldn't have known from any other group training class.
What I loved about the class: It offered a brand new narrative on the idea of fitness, and the reason for to why we work out. Most people jump straight into the fantasy of losing weight, which means breaking out in a full sweat and shedding 10kgs in a few months. A session at The Brave Shapes plays the long game — it's perfect for individuals that are new to fitness, yet also extremely useful for active people that would like to challenge different aspects of their bodies, apart from the usual cardio-fuelled strength training class. It's also the safest space to attempt something you've never tried before — whether it be a handstand or a pull-up. Add to that, its tech-enabled workouts (orchestrated by a bot on Telegram), which make it even more fascinating. The gym also offers consultation to people at home — via Zoom — just so that you can have that option to complete a session even if you're homebound. Pretty apt for the current COVID-19 situation.
What to bring: Just your gear and your smartphone. Sport shoes aren't required, as all of the exercises are done barefoot.
Good to know: Timings are pretty flexible. You can pick a slot online, and come in within the hour. The studio also makes sure to allocate just enough people to a room.
Try it out here: The Brave Shapes
Duration of session: Close to an hour
Difficulty: Easy, as it progresses with more sessions