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Since COVID hit, I’ve done exactly zero group fitness classes.
So, when the invitation to come and try a ‘Republic Shred’ class at the freshly opened hiit republic in Gungahlin, I was feeling a little bit nervous.
In truth, I’d wanted to try out the class since I returned to Canberra in July. However, I was worried that I’d lost too much of my fitness to be able to keep up in a class that, by its very nature, is high intensity. Three months later, and I’d still not ventured inside those slick black doors.
This time, I was invited to try out the brand-new digs in Gungahlin. I knew from social media sneak peeks that it was perhaps their most impressive facility yet, and the team at hiit republic had also offered to send me some pieces from their new activewear range to try out. Despite my worries, I was too intrigued to turn down the invitation and recruited my husband James to join me in an effort to assuage my fears.
We arrived on Saturday morning for the 8 am Republic Shred class and were immediately impressed by the scale of the studio and the volume and quality of equipment.
hiit republic describes themselves as boutique functional fitness classes, with the promise that no two classes are ever the same. Looking at the style of the studio, and the number of different stations and styles of equipment, I can see how there would be countless combinations of workouts that would sit under their eight different class types.
The description of the Republic Shred class was a little bit ambiguous but seemed to center around the idea of training as a team. As soon as the class started, we were asked to split ourselves into groups of four, with two teams of two.
The instructor gave a brief but informative rundown of the class, explaining how we’d run through four different workout stations, where each team of two would complete a set number of kilometers or calories on the conditioning equipment including ski ergs, rowers, assault bikes and seated bikes. Meanwhile, each of the two other team members would complete a number of reps on a strength-based exercise.
For the uninitiated, HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It’s an incredibly popular style of workout where you work hard for a set period of time (this is where the high intensity comes in) before having a period of rest or working at a lower intensity, and then repeating another round (or interval).
One of the things I really loved about Saturday’s class was the way that the rest periods were built in. You got to rest while your partner was completing their portion of the cardio component of the station, and then again while they completed the strength component.
Not only did this allow you to catch your breath (which, let me tell you, I desperately needed), but it also gave you an opportunity to pump up your partner and the other group in your team. It also meant that you had a chance to recover so that you could resume the exercise at a high intensity (as opposed to being super fatigued and breathless through the whole class).
This community vibe is a massive part of hiit republic’s appeal, and one of the main reasons I’m keen to start going to regular classes. I liked that there was a blend of fitness levels and backgrounds, and a nice balance between a bit of friendly competition and supporting each other through the class. The instructors are a key part of this and are excellent at coaching people through each exercise while hyping up the entire class.
Safe to say, I survived the workout. In all honesty, it probably wasn’t as hard as I had imagined—which is a good thing. This is partly due to the fact that you really can scale your effort at each station to meet your ability. I held back in the beginning, choosing lighter weights and pacing myself so that I could be confident that I’d see out the entire class without losing my breakfast or having to tap out.
And then there’s the activewear. It’s hiit republic’s very first collection, and while I was excited about trying it out, part of me was wary. I’m something of an activewear snob, buying from only a small handful of brands that I know I can trust for their quality, look and performance. However, when I lifted the lid on my hiit republic gift box, I was impressed with the look of the clothes and accessories.
The sports bra looked supportive, the tights were high-waisted (my non-negotiable), the cropped tee was roomy with a cute print, and the hoodie was exactly the sort of style I’d buy myself. Everything came in hiit republic’s signature black and white.
I’m genuinely impressed with the designs, and the gear really held up to the high-intensity workout. I didn’t have to hike up the legs or waistband of the tights and my boobs stayed firmly in place throughout (without having that awful uni-boob look that you get from some sports bras). I also really like the fabric of the sports bra and tights. It felt sweat-wicking, helped me stay cool and gave just the right amount of support.
I can hand-over-heart say that every piece will be a regular in my activewear repertoire. Particularly for a first collection, hiit republic has outdone themselves and I can hardly wait to see the reaction when the pieces launch to the public. Keep your eye out on their social channels to find out when you can get your hands on their gear.
If you’re interested in trying out a hiit republic class, there are studios in Braddon, Campbell, Canberra City, CISAC in Belconnen, Erindale, Gungahlin, Kingston, Mitchell, Queanbeyan, and Tuggeranong.
October will see the opening of a Weston Creek studio, while the Fyshwick location is expected to open in November.