The owners of F45 Upper Thomson, located in Singapore, share their story about how they got involved with the brand and why they decided to open a studio of their own. In this excerpt from their testimonial, they focus on the local market and how F45 stands up against the competition, as well as how they have been navigating the COVID-19 pandemic with the F45 community behind them.
If you are feeling inspired by their story and interested in finding out more information about owning your own F45 Training studio, reach out to us today!
Our F45 Story
Our F45 Upper Thomson story began in 2018, when the concept was still rather new in Asia and beginning to gain traction. My partner first encountered F45 in Patong, Phuket. We were looking for a fitness studio on the resort island, and stumbled across a new F45 that was the first to be set up in Phuket. What amazed us about the setup was how inclusive it was - where people of various fitness levels could workout side by side, without feeling judged about how they look. Moreover, the workout was effective and got the job done in 45 mins.
When we returned to Singapore, we found a studio near us to continue our fitness journey with F45. Over time, we made significant improvements in our energy levels, flexibility and strength when doing certain functional movements. This was something that we felt as a very tangible benefit from the program.
We also noticed that a massive disruption trend that had begun in the fitness space around 2000 was really beginning to gather momentum in Southeast Asia. The transformational trend we see in the fitness space is very similar to the transformation in the Internet space. In the late 90s / early 2000s, poorly curated websites were the norm at first, until Yahoo! web portal came along and then Google focusing on the niche area of search. Today, Google is one of the largest companies in the world. We believe this parallel is happening in the fitness sector: In the past, we had many poorly curated gyms all over that were not very inviting, especially for the female crowd. Thereafter, the sector was consolidated with 'all-in-one' offerings through Big Box gyms. Now we are seeing the rise of boutique specialist offerings in a specific category niche, just like Google and Amazon in their early days.
For the males, we see the 'High Value, Low Priced' gym chains for pumping iron. At the other end of the spectrum, we see boutique group fitness studios that have a unique offering that cater to a much broader audience, of which F45 Training is a clear market leader in the HIIT category. Observing this global mega trend, with a reference to how the Internet space played out, we decided that we wanted to ride this global mega trend taking shape right before our eyes. Like the Internet trend, we believe larger 'all-in-one' gyms will eventually fade into the background, and boutique studios and budget gyms will eventually take the lion share of consumer wallet spend on fitness.
Add the fact that we loved how F45 delivered value to the consumers, this was an opportunity we just could not pass up. After all, how often do you get to ride a major disruption trend, yet do it with something that has a proven value-add to the community, and at the same time stay cash flow positive throughout the process? Unlike many of the Internet firms, starting a F45 studio does not require endless amounts of capital to become profitable.
Throughout this entire studio setup journey from finding the franchise location, to getting a site, to starting up the studio and seeing it run, it has been one amazing encounter and lesson after the other. Despite all the rookie mistakes we made, the strength of the F45 operating franchise system has delivered time and again. This allowed us to overcome much of the difficulties we faced in the initial days. Thus far, thanks to much support and advice from F45 HQ, we have managed to turn an operating profit from the very first quarter of operations, and we are excited to continue this journey with the F45 HQ team and other stakeholders. Seeing the smiles on our members' faces and them remarking that our studio is truly a happy place for them, is something that has been very fulfilling for us indeed!
Two key philosophies guide us.
Number one: The workout experience and member safety always come first, then our employee's interest and finally the shareholder interest. We firmly believe that if we have happy clients, who can only come about with happy trainers, then our shareholder interests will be taken care of accordingly.
Number two: When you have found an opportunity, and you are sure that opportunity is the right one, put all your eggs in one basket and give that opportunity everything you have. Having formerly worked in the finance industry, we have learnt that you do not need many opportunities to do well. Just one or two can make a life changing difference.
Making it through the crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly been a momentum killer in the short-term. Yet, we remain confident about F45 Training's long-term potential. Some businesses will emerge from the crisis stronger, while others will struggle to preserve the integrity of their business. In the past months, we have witnessed firsthand F45's ability to respond to the short-term urgency related to the COVID-19 while simultaneously planning and executing for the future.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our many supportive members, who have stood by us throughout this very difficult period. We have given out complimentary F45 Live memberships to members who work in the medical front lines, as a humble gesture to recognize their relentless work and heroic efforts in the daily battle against the COVID-19. Many members are happy to just be able to attend the workouts after a long day at work, and to continue engaging with our F45 Upper Thomson community. To see the smile on their faces at the end of a workout is a truly fulfilling experience. Here at F45 Training Upper Thomson, we are 'not a gym, but a community'!