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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

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Interview: Rob Deutsch, F45

The founder and CEO of F45 has sold more than 900 franchises in three and a half years. He talks to Kate Cracknell about his ambitions to make F45 the largest fitness brand in the world

By Kate Cracknell, Health Club Management | Published in Health Club Management 2017 issue 9
Deutsch’s sports background influenced the creation of F45
Deutsch’s sports background influenced the creation of F45
We tap into the group exercise mentality, so people feel they’re working out with friends, and set the whole thing to funky beats mixed by our full-time DJs

What’s your background?
From a young age, I always had an appetite for sport, and played cricket and rugby competitively throughout my teens. I didn’t realise this at the time, but can now see how these sports influenced the development of F45, as F45 incorporates a lot of functional movement.
I worked as an equities trader in the financial markets for over 10 years and always found time to work out alongside my stressful job – but I saw many people failing to juggle them both. The short version of the story is that this inspired me to leave the corporate world to set up an effective training technique for busy people.

F45 was born. The first club opened in Sydney, Australia, in 2013 and we franchised in 2014. We now have over 900 studios in 31 countries – across Australia, North and South America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East – with 1,150 franchises expected to be open by the end of 2017 (for more details, see ‘F45 in Numbers’, opposite).

What’s the F45 concept?
When we launched, we set out to create a ‘third way’ – an alternative to what was available in the market at the time. On the one hand, you had people spending around AU$20 a week on gym membership but getting no innovation or motivation, so they inevitably stopped going. At the other end of the spectrum, people were paying up to AU$80 for personal training.

I wanted to create something that combined the best of both worlds. We do offer some personal training for those who want it, but our focus is very much on instructor-led group sessions that build a community, and that come with a mid-range price tag.

How would you describe your philosophy at F45?
We believe ‘Motivation + Innovation = Results.’ We aim to provide an experience that helps people to transform their lives, both physically and mentally – but in spite of this focus on results, it’s important to point out that we’re all about having fun too.

We tap into the group exercise mentality, whereby people feel that they’re working out with their friends, and we set the whole thing to funky beats mixed by our full-time DJs.

How do you drive results for members?
F45’s HIIT classes deliver a functional, results-driven, full-body workout that boosts energy levels, metabolic rate, strength and endurance. Sessions are fast-paced, with a strong community element to ensure users push themselves to the max, and there’s constant support and guidance from F45 coaches.

These coaches guide customers through a series of intense, 45-second exercises, with short breaks in between so they can catch their breath. The focus is on functional training – hence the ‘F’ in ‘F45’ – and classes last 45 minutes.

We aim to constantly surprise people with inventive new workouts: we draw from a pool of over 3,000 exercises when we construct our classes, and every three months 250 new ones are added, along with fresh equipment. So every day at F45 is different. That’s a key reason for its popularity, and why studios are popping up all over the world.

It all sounds quite hardcore – who’s your target market?
We target 25- to 40-year-old professionals who care about the way they look, but who don’t want to be professional athletes. People who love their health and fitness, but who want to strike a balance – who will most likely enjoy a glass of wine at the weekend. Our client base is 65 per cent female.

What are your roll-out plans?
We operate in 31 countries (see F45 Locations, opposite) but our focus is currently on the US and the UK. That said, we’re opening new clubs in Europe (Switzerland, Spain and France) and China. In Australia, we only have a handful of territories still available.

Any plans to evolve the F45 offering?
We’re always looking at new ways to innovate, whether it’s from a fitness or a technology standpoint.

When it comes to fitness, we’re constantly evolving our programming to ensure members get the best training in the world. I believe that we’re already leaders in technology, with a system that guides members through their whole workout and our own F45 LionHeart HeartRate technology.

However, we’re looking at new ways members might track their fitness in-studio, as well as ranking themselves against members around the world. We’re developing avatar technology in-studio and a gamification angle, which we’ll release soon.

What’s your overall vision for F45?
For F45 to be the largest fitness brand in the world.
We need to stay at the forefront of innovation. But we also need to ensure we’re able to support the enormous growth we’ve experienced: 967 studios have sold in just three-and-a-half years.

What are you most proud of so far?
I’m most proud of the community we’ve built, and the way we empower members to make dramatic life changes and achieve their body goals. We’ve also built a really strong business that’s going from strength to strength.

What are your thoughts on the fitness sector generally?
We see the fitness sector growing exponentially as people begin to choose this over other social activities. It’s on-track to become a vehicle that reconnects people and creates community, so there’s a lot of potential and huge gains to be made.

F45 IN NUMBERS

Number of studios
967 at the end of August 2017
1,150 projected by January 2018

Size of a typical studio
2,000–2, 500sq ft

Typical member base
250

Average pricing (UK)
Individual classes start at £25
10-class bundles £190

Franchisee investment (UK)
£200,000–£250,000

Staffing model
Owner/operator, head trainer, two coaches

F45: 967 clubs in total, spanning 31 countries

Americas 267

UK and Europe 43

Africa 4

Middle East 9

Asia 75

Australia and New Zealand 569

funky beats mixed by our full-time DJs
funky beats mixed by our full-time DJs
F45 is a functional, results-driven, full body workout aimed at busy people
F45 is a functional, results-driven, full body workout aimed at busy people
The brand targets 25- to 40-year-old professionals
The brand targets 25- to 40-year-old professionals
Members are inspired to make dramatic life changes to achieve their body goals
Members are inspired to make dramatic life changes to achieve their body goals
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/917747_482049.jpg
"Every day at F45 is different – that's a key reason for its popularity, and why studios are popping up all over the world" – We chat to Rob Deutsch, founder of F45, about how he sold 900 franchises in under four years...
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    features

    Interview: Rob Deutsch, F45

    The founder and CEO of F45 has sold more than 900 franchises in three and a half years. He talks to Kate Cracknell about his ambitions to make F45 the largest fitness brand in the world

    By Kate Cracknell, Health Club Management | Published in Health Club Management 2017 issue 9
    Deutsch’s sports background influenced the creation of F45
    Deutsch’s sports background influenced the creation of F45
    We tap into the group exercise mentality, so people feel they’re working out with friends, and set the whole thing to funky beats mixed by our full-time DJs

    What’s your background?
    From a young age, I always had an appetite for sport, and played cricket and rugby competitively throughout my teens. I didn’t realise this at the time, but can now see how these sports influenced the development of F45, as F45 incorporates a lot of functional movement.
    I worked as an equities trader in the financial markets for over 10 years and always found time to work out alongside my stressful job – but I saw many people failing to juggle them both. The short version of the story is that this inspired me to leave the corporate world to set up an effective training technique for busy people.

    F45 was born. The first club opened in Sydney, Australia, in 2013 and we franchised in 2014. We now have over 900 studios in 31 countries – across Australia, North and South America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East – with 1,150 franchises expected to be open by the end of 2017 (for more details, see ‘F45 in Numbers’, opposite).

    What’s the F45 concept?
    When we launched, we set out to create a ‘third way’ – an alternative to what was available in the market at the time. On the one hand, you had people spending around AU$20 a week on gym membership but getting no innovation or motivation, so they inevitably stopped going. At the other end of the spectrum, people were paying up to AU$80 for personal training.

    I wanted to create something that combined the best of both worlds. We do offer some personal training for those who want it, but our focus is very much on instructor-led group sessions that build a community, and that come with a mid-range price tag.

    How would you describe your philosophy at F45?
    We believe ‘Motivation + Innovation = Results.’ We aim to provide an experience that helps people to transform their lives, both physically and mentally – but in spite of this focus on results, it’s important to point out that we’re all about having fun too.

    We tap into the group exercise mentality, whereby people feel that they’re working out with their friends, and we set the whole thing to funky beats mixed by our full-time DJs.

    How do you drive results for members?
    F45’s HIIT classes deliver a functional, results-driven, full-body workout that boosts energy levels, metabolic rate, strength and endurance. Sessions are fast-paced, with a strong community element to ensure users push themselves to the max, and there’s constant support and guidance from F45 coaches.

    These coaches guide customers through a series of intense, 45-second exercises, with short breaks in between so they can catch their breath. The focus is on functional training – hence the ‘F’ in ‘F45’ – and classes last 45 minutes.

    We aim to constantly surprise people with inventive new workouts: we draw from a pool of over 3,000 exercises when we construct our classes, and every three months 250 new ones are added, along with fresh equipment. So every day at F45 is different. That’s a key reason for its popularity, and why studios are popping up all over the world.

    It all sounds quite hardcore – who’s your target market?
    We target 25- to 40-year-old professionals who care about the way they look, but who don’t want to be professional athletes. People who love their health and fitness, but who want to strike a balance – who will most likely enjoy a glass of wine at the weekend. Our client base is 65 per cent female.

    What are your roll-out plans?
    We operate in 31 countries (see F45 Locations, opposite) but our focus is currently on the US and the UK. That said, we’re opening new clubs in Europe (Switzerland, Spain and France) and China. In Australia, we only have a handful of territories still available.

    Any plans to evolve the F45 offering?
    We’re always looking at new ways to innovate, whether it’s from a fitness or a technology standpoint.

    When it comes to fitness, we’re constantly evolving our programming to ensure members get the best training in the world. I believe that we’re already leaders in technology, with a system that guides members through their whole workout and our own F45 LionHeart HeartRate technology.

    However, we’re looking at new ways members might track their fitness in-studio, as well as ranking themselves against members around the world. We’re developing avatar technology in-studio and a gamification angle, which we’ll release soon.

    What’s your overall vision for F45?
    For F45 to be the largest fitness brand in the world.
    We need to stay at the forefront of innovation. But we also need to ensure we’re able to support the enormous growth we’ve experienced: 967 studios have sold in just three-and-a-half years.

    What are you most proud of so far?
    I’m most proud of the community we’ve built, and the way we empower members to make dramatic life changes and achieve their body goals. We’ve also built a really strong business that’s going from strength to strength.

    What are your thoughts on the fitness sector generally?
    We see the fitness sector growing exponentially as people begin to choose this over other social activities. It’s on-track to become a vehicle that reconnects people and creates community, so there’s a lot of potential and huge gains to be made.

    F45 IN NUMBERS

    Number of studios
    967 at the end of August 2017
    1,150 projected by January 2018

    Size of a typical studio
    2,000–2, 500sq ft

    Typical member base
    250

    Average pricing (UK)
    Individual classes start at £25
    10-class bundles £190

    Franchisee investment (UK)
    £200,000–£250,000

    Staffing model
    Owner/operator, head trainer, two coaches

    F45: 967 clubs in total, spanning 31 countries

    Americas 267

    UK and Europe 43

    Africa 4

    Middle East 9

    Asia 75

    Australia and New Zealand 569

    funky beats mixed by our full-time DJs
    funky beats mixed by our full-time DJs
    F45 is a functional, results-driven, full body workout aimed at busy people
    F45 is a functional, results-driven, full body workout aimed at busy people
    The brand targets 25- to 40-year-old professionals
    The brand targets 25- to 40-year-old professionals
    Members are inspired to make dramatic life changes to achieve their body goals
    Members are inspired to make dramatic life changes to achieve their body goals
    http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/917747_482049.jpg
    "Every day at F45 is different – that's a key reason for its popularity, and why studios are popping up all over the world" – We chat to Rob Deutsch, founder of F45, about how he sold 900 franchises in under four years...
    Latest News
    David Lloyd Leisure (DLL) has reopened 50 of its clubs for socially distanced outdoor exercise. ...
    Latest News
    The Beau Sejour leisure centre on the island of Guernsey has become the first public ...
    Latest News
    Mike Lamb CEO, Asia of Jetts 24 Hour Fitness, which has clubs in south-east Asia, ...
    Latest News
    The varying approaches taken by the UK's four home nations to reopening businesses is creating ...
    Latest News
    DataHub has launched a contact tracking app, specifically designed for the fitness and physical activity ...
    Latest News
    ukactive has questioned the government's decision to make all employers start paying towards the wages ...
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    Job search
    POST YOUR JOB
    Opinion
    promotion
    Hedgehog Concept Ltd has developed software that allows its clients to track usage and customer volume on a minute to minute basis.
    Opinion: Is your software fit for COVID-19?
    Featured supplier news
    Featured supplier: Bicester hotel opens purpose-built performance facilities to attract new target audience
    The Bicester Hotel and Spa has launched purpose-built fitness and performance facilities to create a standalone, unique offering to attract a new demographic to the site.
    Featured supplier news
    Featured supplier: Adidas calls on BLK BOX for flooring solutions at new World of Sports complex
    Adidas believes that creators, just like athletes, need an environment that inspires their employees to perform and believe that through sport, we have the power to change lives.
    Video Gallery
    Technogym mywellness app
    Technogym
    Improve your training experience. All your data in a single app. Read more
    More videos:
      Company profiles
      Company profile: DFC
      DFC
      At DFC, we offer totally transparent revenue management solutions with clear pricing and no hidden ...
      Company profiles
      Company profile: Pavigym
      PAVIGYM is the premier innovator of flooring and interactive solutions for the global fitness industry....
      Catalogue Gallery
      Click on a catalogue to view it online
      Directory
      Whole body cryotherapy
      Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
      Skincare
      Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
      Design consultants
      Zynk Design Consultants: Design consultants
      Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
      Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
      Wearable technology solutions
      MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
      Fitness Software
      FunXtion International BV: Fitness Software
      Direct debit solutions
      Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
      Gym flooring
      REGUPOL/Berleburger Schaumstoffwerk (BSW): Gym flooring
      Exercise equipment
      Technogym: Exercise equipment
      Management software
      Fisikal: Management software
      Property & Tenders
      Greywell, Hampshire
      Barnsgrove Health and Wellness Club
      Property & Tenders
      Derby City Council
      Property & Tenders
      Diary dates
      13 Jun 2020
      Worldwide, Various,
      Diary dates
      06-07 Jul 2020
      Eastwood Hall, Nottingham, United Kingdom
      Diary dates
      28-31 Aug 2020
      Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
      Diary dates
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      Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
      Diary dates
      01-02 Oct 2020
      Whittlebury Hall, Whittlebury, United Kingdom
      Diary dates
      11-12 Oct 2020
      ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
      Diary dates
      17-23 Oct 2020
      Pinggu, Beijing, China
      Diary dates
      27-30 Oct 2020
      Messe Stuttgart, Germany
      Diary dates
      30-31 Oct 2020
      NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
      Diary dates
      27-28 Nov 2020
      Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
      Diary dates
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