Is F45 Ready To Steal CrossFit’s Crown?

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As the second largest functional training network in the world, F45 is on course to own over 1,150 franchises globally by the end of the year.

Over the past six years the revolutionary fitness concept has enjoyed unbridled success, first launching in Sydney, Australia in 2011. With studios now spanning 26 countries, it is the fastest ever franchise rollout in Australia’s history.

Last month the boutique fitness franchise opened its flagship UK studio in Tottenham Court Road, central London, and with plans to launch more than 25 more studios across the UK and Ireland over the coming months, 2017 is set to be another record year. But, despite the brand’s phenomenal growth there’s still one important milestone it’s yet to hit.

“When we set up F45 the goal was to try and surpass CrossFit in terms of raw numbers of studios,” explains Co-Founder Rob Deutsch.

“They’re currently at about 6,000 and we’ll probably hit around 1200 by the end of this year so we’re on track. I think somewhere in the next 3-5 years we can really give them a good shakeup,” he adds.

Inspired by CrossFit’s successful model, Deutsch says F45 was born out of his desire to bridge the gap between personal training and commercial gyms while developing something a bit more user-friendly than Greg Glassman’s cult workout.

Unlike CrossFit’s tough regime, which Deutsch argues is only suitable for 1% of the population, at F45 classes are suitable for all, regardless of age and fitness levels, enabling participants to workout at their own pace and challenge themselves to reach their own goals. A team of leading fitness experts have designed the extensive range of 16 unique cardio and resistance based, training programmes. These he says, challenge participants to mix up their weekly workout routine and burn up to 820 calories per session, with constant support and guidance from F45 coaches.

To enable each studio to offer the same workouts every single day, sessions are carried out using the latest innovation in fitness-based technology, with sessions beamed out from a central hub across the world. According to Deutsch, it is this very technology that has been central to the rapid growth of the brand.

“The biggest challenge we’ve faced has been getting all our trainers trained to a level we’re happy with because it’s impossible for us to be in that many places around the world at the same time. Because of this we’ve really had to up the level of technology we use in order to make the franchise model so scalable,” he reveals.

With each franchise selling for a reported $50,000, it’s clear to see why Deutsch wants nothing standing in the way of such a profitable business model, but in the long term the real challenge will be in maintaining the brand’s appeal in a market full of fickle consumers. However, this isn’t something Deutsch is too worried about.

“We’ve got the largest exercise bank of any gym in the world and every quarter we add another 300 new exercises, which means our innovation is second to none,” he argues.

“Added to that, we bring out 6 to 10 completely new training systems each year, so the consumer never has a chance to get bored,” he adds.

With F45 franchises being sold into US colleges and corporates, sponsorship deals with NBA teams and plans to launch own-brand merchandise and supplements all planned for the next 12-24 months, boredom isn’t a concept Deutsch is likely to be faced with either.

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