“I’m trying to get people to actually want to attend a gym and feel like they’re part of something,” explained F45 founder and CEO Rob Deutsch to Fast Company’s Rina Raphael. Having founded the fitness company back in 2012, the former equities sales trader now has over 1,750 studios worldwide, and fuelled by the Australian import’s focus on novelty, community, and millennial-friendly experiences, it is now the fastest-growing fitness franchise, with 800 sites in the US alone.
So what sets F45 apart from the competition? Firstly, its training spaces are devoid of treadmills, boxing bags and traditional fitness equipment, and instead feature an open-floor layout filled with simple free weights, TRX straps and a few exercise balls. Gym members take part in 45-minute HIIT workouts, rotating through numbered stations to perform 60-second exercises, while watching monitors that demonstrate exactly how to perform each move.
By having their own station for each minute’s exercise, members can go at their own pace while still enjoying a class-based workout, making it suitable for both beginners and the more advanced alike. And with technology assuming the role of trainer, this frees up the actual trainers to coach and correct.
Another differential is variety. F45 boasts a database of over 3,000 filmed exercises, and prides itself on never repeating the same sequence of exercises twice. “It’s literally like painting a blank canvas in terms of a workout. It’s always changing,” said Deutsch.
But undoubtedly, it’s the franchise’s focus on community that really sets it apart. “We’re big on people getting to know each other outside of the gym,” said Deutsch, and F45 regularly connects members outside of its sessions, hosting competitive events, festivals and other social gatherings. For example, studios are encouraged to host get-togethers both before and after an F45 Challenge, the brand’s quarterly season-long nutrition and fitness programs, and the F45 Playoffs are friendly competitions between studios, cities, and soon countries, where members take part in a multisport and music festival, with the chance to win substantial cash prices.
Currently operating in 44 countries, F45 has plans to further expand into Europe and South America, and Deutsch aims to increase the brand’s presence stateside to between 5,000 and 7,000 studios. In addition, the company is also considering new formats and programs, including a workout designed for adolescents that focuses on self-confidence. “Every year we bring out five to six new workout systems and a thousand new exercises,” Deutsch told Fast Company’s Raphael. “We’ve grown extremely fast, but I believe globally, we still feel there’s still huge headroom to come.”