yemi penn | f45 brixton

After falling in love with F45 whilst living and running her engineering consulting in Sydney, our LDNER decided to bring the workout with her when she moved back home to Brixton, and now the studio is opening in September. Meet Yemi Penn…

Where do you live in London and what do you like about the area?

I live in Brixton and have for most of my childhood and early adult life. Although I was born in London, I relocated from Nigeria in 1993 and so I have seen Brixton change its demographics and vibe over the years. However, Brixton has always been vibrant and this is the essence of who I am. I love Brixton because of its diversity (yes! That word again), it has always screamed culture and more recently inclusion. My siblings and I frequently visited Brixton Recreation Centre in our younger years and I went on teach spin. Brixton Market was pretty much a daily destination as I got my hair done there, bought the weekly groceries there, picked up things we didn’t need from the £1 shop and much more. As I became a teen frequent visits to the new Ritzy cinema became the norm as well as the Fridge, Brixton Academy and various eateries on and around Brixton Road. Walk through Brixton Village on any given day especially a Saturday and you can not help but smile.

Why do you think f45 has taken off in such a huge way?

The fitness industry was screaming for change. When I started my ‘body acceptance’ journey early on at university, I found it somewhat isolating. We sometimes have so many insecurities even when we are trying to better ourselves. I would workout alone and ultimately get bored with workouts or fork out £40-£60 for a personal training session. A friend’s mother invited me to her aerobics class called ‘Mash Up Crew’ (I kid you not!) and it was awesome because it had these workout beasts who would smash the session.

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F45 takes it to a new level, firstly it’s technology meets beautifully crafted and effective workouts which are never the same! So your body has no choice but to respond. To top it off you get to beast all workouts with a community vibe. I remember my first work out session in Sydney, Australia and at the end of the class my workout buddy gave me her hand to lift me off the floor (showing my fitness prowess here!) and then she proceeded to hi-five me, I looked around and everyone else was hi-fiving. It felt so American but secretly felt awesome! Put simply, people love F45 because it works, your body responds to the workouts, the eight-week challenges throughout the year give transformational changes and friends are made for life. That first hi-five I got was from a lady called Jane who is now a friend (and babysitter) for life!

The Brixton workout is going to be the signature class in the new studio, talk us through what it involves.

There are 31 unique and systemised programs (classes) and the new ‘Brixton’ program is a sister workout to ‘Brooklyn’ which puts your cardiovascular, strength, boxing, MMA and martial arts skills to the ultimate test. The Brixton workout is a mix of combat simulation with high-intensity cardio moves structured to mimic the training of a fighter. Bring it on Anthony Joshua!

What are the biggest differences between living in Sydney and living in London?

Firstly, both cities are truly beautiful. London is littered with history, architecture and culture in almost every neighbourhood you go to. It is potentially a few decades ahead of Sydney with regards to cultures mixing, more developed infrastructure with a bigger mix of activities. Sydney gives you the feel of different terrains and sometimes countries within a time frame of an hour…beautiful beaches, consistent blue skies, blue mountains. I love both places!

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Describe your perfect day in London

It’s a warm spring day, I’m walking down Brixton Road heading to grab breakfast and coffee in Brixton Village with a girlfriend. We talk about life, dreams etc (I love a good conversation) and then I head to work, which currently is a mix between opening/running an F45 studio, developing and delivering empowering workshops and running my engineering consulting company. After work, I meet up with friends for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and light dinner doing nothing but laughing my head off! I’m in bed by 9pm because I don’t play with my sleep!

230 Brixton Road, London, SW9 6AH