The new celeb fitness craze!
I t’s the fitness phenomenon that has inspired celebrities, changed the way many Australians work out and launched a business empire.
Former equities trader Rob Deutsch co-founded F45 gyms in 2011, building the business on a highpaced, inclusive team workout strategy. Now there are 315 outlets across the country, with a further 191 franchises sold and due to open in coming months.
“The philosophy always has been ‘team training, life changing’,” Deutsch tells BW Magazine.
“It is very different to a normal gym where you turn up and there’s a rack of dumbbells and you have your headphones on and you’re at your own accord trying to design workouts.
“F45 studios are very much community based, you train with 26 other people in your team. And the beautiful thing is, everything is laid out for you so it is basically like a personal training session but ... in a team environment.”
It wasn’t planned but celebrities have become a major part of the business’s success..
Among the brand’s ambassadors or outlet owners are former Test cricketer Brett Lee, radio and TV personality Maz Compton, rugby union stars Adam Ashley Cooper and Nathan Sharpe, and NRL stars Nate Myles and Roy Asotasi.
“We have had huge ambassador/celebrity endorsement virtually by virtue of the fact that 40 of these people have actually bought franchises,” he said.
“We are talking cricket players, rugby union players, rugby league players and athletes who have paid us to buy franchises. It has been a pretty unique proposition compared to most brands who pay these guys to just take photos in front of their logos.”
TV presenter and radio host Maz Compton bought into the F45 phenomenon after a free trial at one of the gyms.
“It just worked for me,” Compton says. “And then I got my partner to come along and he loved it and we started working out together, which was really cool.”
The pair made contact with Deutsch’s team to explore opening a franchise before setting up the Avalon F45 on Sydney’s northern beaches. They have since opened another F45 in Charmhaven on the Central Coast.
“I love the fact anyone can do it and that it is inclusive. It is for every person, no matter where they are at and that appeals to me.”
Deutsch says the system’s variety has been key to its success.
“Every single day you turn up ... it is a completely different system and a completely different workout,” he says. “That makes it fun and innovative and people get phenomenal results, which is why we have such a sticky membership base.”
The system uses time as the training variable, not repetitions. So if someone is doing push-ups, they have 45 seconds to do as many push-ups as they are able.
“An 80-year-old may do two whereas a 20year-old may do 42,” he says. “You literally go at your own accord and you do as many reps as you can in that time period.” A n F45 franchise sells for a fee of $US50,000 ($63,000) plus an additional $US100,000 for a world pack that includes all equipment and fitout and a monthly royalty fee. Deutsch expects the Australian F45 market to “tap out” at about 540 franchises.
The big push now is overseas, with franchises already established in 27 countries, including Thailand, the UK, France, South Africa, Mexico and New Zealand.
They’re tracking to register 1150 studios internationally by the end of the year.
Deutsch says the company hopes to have 350 US franchises by year’s end but expects that market to provide massive growth — possibly up to 8000 outlets. A major area of growth will be in American universities, with 14 franchise deals signed at sites such as Stanford and the University of Southern California.
“The model was always designed to be very scalable and for it to be picked up and used by anyone in any country and that is why we’ve got so much technology behind what we build,” Deutsch says. “Every studio has nine plasma screens where all the workouts play up ... it tells you when to rest and when to warm up. Because we’ve got that incredible technology ... that enables us to roll this out very quickly to any country around the world.”
I love the fact anyone can do it
Maz Compton at the Avalon F45 gym; and (left) I’m a Celebrity stars Dane Swan and Ash Pollard ready to work out. Main picture: Jonathan Ng