Hear from F45 Oxford Circus co-owner Tristan Smith about his experience as an F45 franchisee and why he loves being part of the F45 family.
How did you first hear about F45 Training?
The first F45 launched in London and my housemate at the time signed up to it. She loved it & raved about it so Haydn (my best friend & business partner) and I went to check it out. We both fell in love with it and immediately signed up as members.
Why did you choose F45?
We fell in love with the buzz F45 left you with every time you got beasted by a class—it was completely infectious. That, coupled with the vibe & communities that are built through the studios & trainers, it was a no brainer.
Have you always wanted to own your own business?
I’ve envisioned & created thousands of businesses in my head, but F45 is the first that I’ve actually made a reality. It’s awesome.
Have you been in the fitness industry before?
I’ve actually never worked in fitness; Haydn has more experience in that field. I worked in financial sales for four years after graduating from university, but have always been very keen to work in the boutique fitness space. F45 presented the perfect opportunity to do just that.
How has the support from F45 HQ been?
Great. We actually did our induction over in Sydney so that we could meet some of the support team & get a good feel for the grassroots of F45.
How was your F45 induction experience?
The induction was very thorough and worthwhile. Whether you are owners, managers, or trainers, I’d recommend it. Even if you think you know the brand well already, you will pick up a lot! It's also a great excuse to get out of the miserable winter weather in the UK!
What is the one thing that you are most surprised by?
We really underestimated the power of community—how people can connect, network, and become lifelong friends. Knowing that these people all met as a result of something that we created is so awesome and rewarding as a business owner.
How has your franchise experience been thus far? What are the benefits of F45's franchise model?
We’re loving what we do. Haydn and I live and breathe the brand and it’s been an unbelievable 12 months for us. We’ve already started planning our next location and will look to do more as soon as we get that moving.
The model is great, from the workouts and innovation to the amazing results that people achieve. It gives you the flexibility to manage your business in the way you want. Don’t expect it to be easy, though. We’re grinding & working on our business 24-7! All completely worth it.
How much interest has there been in the studio? How easy it has been to market your F45 Training studio?
We have a Central London location, very close to Oxford Circus tube station, so we had good traffic through the studio from day one. Our social media presence was strong and we flyered (and still do) heavily in the build-up to launching. We also did a good job of creating a strong mailing list by running some offers & competitions prior to opening. The combination of F45’s growing presence in the UK and the great press surrounding the 8-week Challenge has allowed us to reach membership capacity!
What's the most inspiring member story you've witnessed?
There have been many in 12 months. However, one member's story stands out the most. He returned from Afghanistan after fighting for the British Army. Due to a horrendous incident with an IED, he was unable to train for long periods of time. The first time he walked into our gym, he was overweight, lacked confidence, and was in desperate need of a gym experience that would bring him back to top physical and mental health.
After four weeks, at the midway 8-week Challenge check-in, he was a different human being. We were totally unaware of his personal history at this point. He told us that it was the first time in four years where he had actually wanted to train, and that he truly enjoyed it. The group environment is what he’d been searching for and it pushed him to levels he didn’t think were possible. As he sat there having already lost 4-5% body fat, he had a different aura around him and I could tell he was in a much more positive place in his life. This just reinforced why we got into this game and gave us such a boost in our early days.
How do your members impact your life, both in and out of the studio?
The members are an integral part of creating an awesome F45 community. The barrier between the trainers, owners, and members has to be ripped down to create a really special environment where the community can flourish. Quite simply, our members' impact is what drives us as business owners. If it weren't for them, there would be no community or memorable experiences.
How has F45 Training been life-changing for you?
It has made us love fitness again. 18 months ago, it was a burden. Now, it’s a lifestyle and something we adore. The days of chicken and broccoli are over. Waking up on Saturday morning to train and having beers in the afternoon with your workout buddies is the trend! We know which one is more enjoyable, and more importantly, sustainable.
What is your favorite part of F45 and why?
Getting to see our members' faces every day and watching their transitions throughout the process. Some walk in having the worst days/week ever, and by the time they leave, they feel like a million dollars. There have been countless cases where our community has changed people in the most amazing way, both physically and mentally! It’s a very powerful & rewarding thing to be a part of.