Last week, co-founder of F45 Training Rob Deutsch said there are “enormous issues” plaguing the gym franchise, after the company’s share price dropped over 60 per cent.
At first thought, I could have been forgiven for feeling like I ‘just got out of there in time’.
But in truth, after officially breaking up with F45 after nearly five years as a foundation member of my local studio just last month, I feel more sadness for a brand I still massively love and support.
“Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this,” Deutsch wrote in a since-deleted post on Instagram in response to the apparent downfall of the fitness empire he started in 2013.
“When I exited, and sold out of F45, I left a healthy, phenomenal, beast of a business. All the way from the company culture to the heart beat of the business… The workouts. F45 was special.”
What made the F45 so special
I first joined my local F45 back in 2017 shortly after the studio had opened its doors, and was very quickly hooked.
The concept is super simple. Every F45 studio in the world runs the exact same 45-minute class each day and no two workouts are ever the same. By varying the exercise type and the number of exercise stations, as well as the work time and rest time, you get something different every day.
The sessions incorporate functional movements (think squatting, lifting, pulling, pushing, jumping and twisting) that are designed to target fat loss and help to build and maintain lean muscle mass.
The classes alternate between HIIT-style cardio, strength training, or a hybrid mixture of the two.
It only took a month of attending five to six classes a week and I was all-in. I signed up to my first ‘8-Week Challenge’ and was able to lose over 8kg, even placing second in my studio.
I met F45’s global ambassador Cory George when he visited studios across Sydney during a trip Down Under, and eventually bought into the studio tech, wearing a LionHeart band that monitors performance (and ranks class participants) during each workout.
When COVID hit I remained a dedicated member, joining daily live workout sessions over Zoom, and was over the moon when the doors finally reopened after each lockdown, as I had missed the comradery and motivation that comes from being at a class in person.
Why I left F45
Deutsch’s post was flooded with comments from F45 franchisees and other devoted members, which provided some insight into the company’s collapse.
“The decisions they made during detrimental lockdowns was crushing to franchises,” one owner wrote.
While another member said: “What would you expect when it went public. It is what it is.”
For me personally, to be honest, the answer is probably a little underwhelming, as there was absolutely nothing wrong at my studio or with the trainers. They supported me through all the ups and downs of my ongoing fitness and health journey.
It came down to the simple fact that I was getting bored, and I wanted to shift my focus to strength training. I didn’t feel like I was progressing anymore.
“The body loves and responds most effectively to change. Repeating the same workout can actually reduce the effectiveness,” Ali Cavill, owner of Fit Fantastic, previously told 9Honey.
Plus, more and more research is showing resistance training is the way to go for a variety of reasons.
“If you’re wanting to increase your [muscle] shape and definition, then resistance training is by far the best way to do that,” Greg Stark, owner and trainer from Better Being, also told 9Honey.
In January I did a trial at a new gym that had opened in my area, and I officially canceled my membership with F45 last month.
It was bittersweet – and not as easy as I thought it would be, as I haven’t had to do much breaking up with people in the past. And let me tell you that’s exactly what it felt like!
I’m not saying I won’t ever go back, as I definitely still miss it. But for now, it was time for something new. I only hope the brand can turn it around.
Enter Altitude training
This week I officially hit 100 classes at AirLocker Training Penrith (which, full disclosure, is run by a family friend).
AirLocker provides strength and conditioning training at altitude, which it does by reducing oxygen in the room via innovative technology.
Workouts are set to about 13 to 14 per cent oxygen, as opposed to the regular 20 to 22 per cent level.
“When training at altitude, your oxygen levels in the blood are reduced and this produces an increase in red blood cell production,” Director of Performance Sandor Earl explains.
“Through that adaptation your body becomes more efficient at utilizing oxygen.”
In my time at AirLocker I have surprised myself with how much my strength and cardio fitness has improved in such a short period of time. And I was a relatively fit person going in.
Would definitely recommend for anyone wanting to mix things up!
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