CORAL GABLES, Fla. — It was David Beckham himself who was gassed the first time he led a class in his new 45-minute workout routine. He pushed through the intense finisher he had insisted Gunnar Peterson add to the programming and sheepishly apologized.
“I turned to the class and said, ‘I am so sorry. So sorry. That was really difficult,’” Beckham said. “And they were like ‘No, this was great.’ So I was obviously the only one who struggled through it.”
Beckham created DB45 with celebrity trainer Peterson, and the program debuted this week across F45 Training's nearly 1,800 studios in 67 countries. Peterson is chief of athletics at F45, a franchise gym model backed by Mark Wahlberg.
Peterson worked with Beckham to build a workout that incorporates elements of the regimen the 47-year-old global icon uses to this day. It has been nearly a decade since Beckham last played professionally but he has maintained his physical conditioning and by all appearances has remained in peak shape.
Beckham routinely documents his fitness routine on social media and in creating DB45 offered regular athletes an opportunity to train like one of soccer's biggest stars.
“It's obviously tailored to what I used to do in my career, some of the exercises,” Beckham told The Associated Press during a demonstration of DB45 at F45 Training Coral Gables, a day after he attended Formula One's inaugural race in Miami.
“We never tailor anything to any specific sport or athlete because our community is not about athletes. Yes, there's some people that are ex-athletes that come into F45, but this is not a workout designed only for elite athletes.”
OK, so you won't be able to bend it like Beckham at the end of the class. But The Associated Press can attest the workout is no joke: This reporter took DB45 twice in its launch week, at the Coral Gables location with Beckham and then again at F45 Training South Park in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The class in Florida was intimidating. Filled with influencers and led by popular F45 instructors Cory George and Morgan Mitchell, the fast-paced, 11-station, football-inspired cardio class was dizzying. Two DJs played in the back of the room as George and Mitchell weaved through the stations enthusiastically encouraging participants while using their outside voices.
It moves fast and utilizes Beckham's jersey numbers 32 and 23: Exercises are done in two sets at each station, the first is 32 seconds and the second is 23 seconds. After all 11 stations are complete, it repeats through a second time.
The workout is set up like a 4:4:2 soccer formation in the studio and, somewhere between the “defenders” functional resistance stations 2-5 and “midfield” agility-based stations 6-9, a publicist thankfully summoned me to speak with Beckham and Peterson off to the side.
I was out of breath and sweaty, and had only completed one station. Who would do this workout regularly?
“People who want to know what athletes really go through, to do that they need to do a workout that preps them not just for soccer or football, but for any and all sports and all the things that life throws at you,” Peterson told AP. He maintains that by following an elite program like Beckham's, anyone can improve their overall wellbeing.
When Peterson thought DB45 was complete, Beckham told him there was still something missing.
“Make sure you do the finisher,” Beckham smiled.
When the the seven-exercise “Extra Time” closer came about in Coral Gables, I had missed half the class talking to Beckham and Peterson and mostly completed it save for the reverse burpees. So I took the class again on its regularly scheduled Wednesday — the class is designed to be done once a week as part of an F45 four-week program — in Charlotte.
There were no DJs on a regular Wednesday night and the class wasn't filled with influencers or Beckham. But those there to take DB45 were clearly gym enthusiasts, including studio owner Jay Moose, who brought his wife, Becca, as he took the class for the second time that day.
The energy was still similar, beginning when Beckham greets the participants in a video message and all the way through the class. When “Extra Time” begins, almost everyone is gasping for air. Then comes the seal jacks and jump squats and wide mountain climbers, and if this is how David Beckham exercises, no wonder he looks like he can suit up for Inter Miami, the Major League Soccer team he co-owns.
“These are a lot of the exercises that I enjoyed and also some of the exercises that I didn't enjoy,” Beckham told AP. “There's lunges in there. I used to hate lunges. We've got lunges in here. So this isn't a workout of things that I loved throughout my career. It's the things I actually had to do.”