Australia has been exporting wellness for a while, from surfer-cool healthy recipes to celebrity trainers and fitness fashion. But functional workout franchise F45 Training has strength and momentum to become a powerhouse global brand like none before it.
With more than 450 locations in 18 countries and a growing presence in the US—including three Los Angeles locations and the first New York City studio debuting this summer—founder Robert Deutsch says they're just getting warmed up. "In Australia, we were the fastest-ever franchise rollout in history, faster than McDonald's," he says.
CrossFit is becoming the Starbucks of the fitness world, sure, but the cult-favorite has been around for nearly 20 years, compared to F45's four. Orangetheory is probably the closest competitor, with nearly 400 studios and plans to open a new one every day this year, which means F45 will likely be racing alongside—no treadmill necessary.
Deutsch gives Well+Good the scoop on F45's workout style and expansion plans so you can be prepared before it most definitely opens near you, soon.
The past and future, AKA speedwork
Deutsch opened the first F45 Training studio in Sydney in 2012 to "set up a system that was as innovative, motivating, and results-based as a personal training session, for a fraction of the cost," he says. He started franchising in 2014, and locations very quickly started opening at a high-intensity pace.
There are now 340 in Australia, 65 sold in North America (with about 20 open in the US), and locations rolling out all over Europe and Asia, to name a few. The first New York City location will open in July in Chelsea. Deutsch says that before the end of this year, he expects to sell another 330 franchises and to open about 250 studios to the public, and F45 also hosts The F45 Playoffs, a huge fitness competition for athletes.
The sweat story
So what can you expect if you show up to sweat? F45 offers 45-minute circuit-based strength and conditioning classes where you rotate between stations executing mostly functional movements, meaning your body moves like you do in real life, using multiple muscle groups at once. That means working with equipment like kettlebells, resistance straps, sandbags, battle ropes, sleds, and medicine balls. Classes also incorporate some more traditional fitness props, like barbells, dumbbells, and spin bikes.
Deutsch says what makes F45 unique is that they've developed 18 different workout systems that all studios feature for 10- to 12-week blocks, and within those systems, the exercises change in every class. "We have three and a half thousand exercises in our encyclopedia," he says, "and everything plays up on plasma screens within the studio."
The screens also give cues on where to move next and when to take water breaks, but don't worry, they don't replace instructors—there are two in every session. Basically they help keep you from getting lost, wondering what move you should be doing.
You can expect the same experience wherever you go, so if you pop into a studio while traveling for business or on vacation, you know exactly what you're getting into. Yep, even when you're halfway around the world.
No F45 by you yet? Try this ab-focused core workout you can do anywhere with no equipment. And if you need something to wear to your next workout class, the shopping has pretty much been done for you.
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