Last week, F45 Training co-founder Rob Deutsch said there are “huge issues” plaguing the gym franchise, after the the company’s share price fell more than 60 percent.
At first glance, he could have been forgiven for feeling like he ‘just got out of there in time’.
But in truth, after officially breaking up with F45 after nearly five years as a founding member of my local studio last month, I feel even more sadness for a brand I still love and support tremendously.
“Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this,” Deutsch wrote in a since-deleted post on Instagram in response to apparent fall of the fitness empire started in 2013.
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“When I went out and sold F45, I left behind a phenomenal, healthy beast of a business. From the culture of the company to the heartbeat of the business… The workouts. F45 was special.”
What made the F45 so special?
I joined for the first time F45 Glenmore Park in 2017, shortly after the studio opened its doors, and he was hooked very quickly.
The concept is super simple. Every F45 studio in the world offers the exact same 45 minute class every day and no two workouts are the same. By varying the type of exercise and the number of exercise stations, as well as the work time and rest time, you’ll get something different every day.
Sessions incorporate functional movements (think squatting, lifting, pulling, pushing, jumping, and twisting) that are designed to target fat loss and help build and maintain lean muscle mass.
Classes alternate between HIIT-style cardio, strength training, or a hybrid mix of the two.
It only took me a month to attend five or six classes a week and I did it all. I signed up for my first ‘8 Week Challenge’ and was able to lose over 8kg, even placing second in my study.
I met F45’s global ambassador, Cory George, when he visited the studios in Sydney during a trip Down Under, and eventually bought the studio’s technology, using a LionHeart band that monitors performance (and ranks class participants) during every workout.
When COVID hit I remained a dedicated member, joining the daily live training sessions via Zoom, and was over the moon when the doors finally reopened after each lockdown as I had missed the camaraderie and motivation that comes from being in a class in person.
READ MORE: Is exercising at home as good as going to the gym?
Why did I leave F45
Deutsch’s post was flooded with comments from F45 franchisees and other devoted members.
“The decisions they made during the damaging lockdowns were crushing for the franchises,” wrote a franchise owner in Canada.
While another member from the US said, “What would you expect when it goes public? It is what it is.”
For me personally, to be honest, the answer is probably a bit disappointing, as there was absolutely nothing wrong with my studio or with the trainers. They supported me through all the ups and downs of my ongoing health and fitness journey.
It all came down to the simple fact that I was getting bored and wanted to switch my focus to strength training. I no longer felt like I was making progress.
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“The body loves and responds more effectively to change. Repeating the same workout can actually reduce effectiveness,” Ali Cavill, owner of Fit Fantastic, previously told 9Honey.
Furthermore, more and more research shows that resistance training is the way to go for a variety of reasons.
“If you want to increase your [muscle] shape and definition, then resistance training is by far the best way to do it,” Greg Stark, owner and trainer of Better Being, also told 9Honey.
In January I tried out a new gym that had opened in my area and officially canceled my membership with F45 last month.
It was bittersweet, and not as easy as I thought it would be, since I haven’t had to do much breaking up with people in the past. And let me tell you, that’s exactly what I felt!
I’m not saying I’ll never go back as I definitely still miss it. But for now, it was time for something new. I just hope the brand can turn it around.
Get into altitude training
This week I officially reached 100 classes in AirLocker Training Penrith (which, full disclosure, is being handled by a family friend).
AirLocker provides strength and conditioning training at altitude, which it does by reducing oxygen in the room through innovative technology.
Workouts are set at around 13 to 14 percent oxygen, as opposed to the regular 20 to 22 percent level.
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“When you train at altitude, your blood oxygen levels are reduced and this leads to an increase in red blood cell production,” explains Director of Performance Sandor Earl.
“Through that adaptation, your body becomes more efficient at utilizing oxygen.”
In my time on AirLocker I have been amazed at how much my strength and cardiovascular fitness have improved in such a short amount of time. And I was a relatively fit person going in.
I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to mix things up!
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