With a student body of almost 47,000 students, the University of Arizona is one of the largest universities in the United States and has a long and storied history. Founded in 1885 in Tucson Arizona, the University of Arizona was actually founded 27 years before Arizona was recognized as a state. The first graduating class had 3 graduates in 1895 and since then, the University of Arizona has never slowed down.
The university boasts a motto of “Bear Down” and the university community has lived up to that calling. The University of Arizona Athletics teams play in the Pac-12 conference and have a combined 22 national titles. Multiple Noble Prize and Fulbright award winners hail from the Wildcat community. In 2021, the University of Arizona became the first group in history to retrieve a sample from an actual asteroid in space. Lastly, according to multiple sources, the University of Arizona also has one of the top recreation facilities in the country.
Even with one of the most highly regarded facilities and programs in the country, the University of Arizona decided to take its fitness offerings to the next level with the addition of F45 Training. Will Craig, Vice President of College recently spoke with Jake Minnis, Assistant Director of Fitness and Wellness, and Olivia Schneider Fitness and Wellness Coordinator to learn more about their program and what makes it special.
Will: Why did the University of Arizona decide to bring on F45 Training?
Jake: To be honest, when we first learned about F45 Training, our initial thought was that it was cool, but we thought we could create something “in-house” that would be just as popular and effective. However, as F45 became more and more popular we kept seeing it pop up everywhere and once we really looked into everything that F45 entails, I had to admit to myself that I could not compete with the quality and magnitude of the brand using just our internal resources.
We also saw F45 checking all the boxes for what people want to see in fitness today: technology, circuit training, and HIIT.. Being in a learning environment, I also liked that our students were not required to have certifications to teach F45. We looked at it as a way to better recruit students who are interested in personal development and learning how to become a fitness professional.
Will: What were some of the initial concerns The University of Arizona had before adding F45 Training?
Jake: Like I assume for many universities across the country, our initial concerns revolved around space, funding, and staffing. We first had to find a location, which we decided to turn a multipurpose room into a dedicated F45 studio. From there we had to feel confident in the investment both from a monetary standpoint and personnel standpoint and both have worked out well. Due to F45 being a recognized brand we are able to recruit the necessary participants and staff to make F45 a success.
Will: Have you seen F45 increase participation within your fitness program.
Jake: We have seen F45 increase participation within our fitness program and it helped us reach new users. In our first year, we had increased participation by around 1000 per semester, compared to semesters without F45. However, we have seen more participants who used to participate in other classes are now selecting F45 as their preferred modality of exercise. While I do not have exact numbers, anecdotally I would also say F45 has increased our male participation both from a participant and instructor standpoint. It has been great to have more male representation within our fitness instructors and trainers.
Will: Do you charge for F45 classes and do you run the program with revenue in mind?
Olivia: We do charge for F45 Training and it is currently part of our general group fitness pass. The price of this pass is $60/semester for students.
Jake: Prior to COVID, we had a separate pass just for F45 Training and we charged $45/semester for around 35 classes per week. We are currently deciding if we want to split up the two passes again. If we decide to split up the programs, we will most likely increase the price just for F45. Our goal is not to necessarily make a large profit off the program. We want to keep this program accessible to as many people as possible and just offset our operating costs.
Will: What is your favorite part of the F45 Training program?
Olivia: I love the cardio days...even though my staff and users would most likely say the strength days. I just love how it pushes people and creates an electric energy in the room. Another big thing to me is how it’s a new workout every day, but there is still consistency within some of the movements. This way your users and trainers can feel confident within the workouts.
Jake: The development aspect of the program is such a huge asset within campus recreation. Student staff does not have to focus on programming. They can come in and work on other skills such as coaching, cueing, and class management. Trainers can then build off these skills to continue growing as a fitness professional.
Will: Has F45 been a success for your department?
Olivia: Recently coming from universities without F45, I would say that F45 has been a success at the University of Arizona. Being in Tucson, Arizona there is so much competition and other options for our students and users to engage in physical activity and F45 provides a way for us to compete with those other options. We are also seeing some of our Club Sports teams taking part in F45 Training as part of their training program.
Jake: I would say F45 has been successful. For instance, since coming back from COVID we are seeing some of our younger participants get involved with the program because they were exposed to F45 at private facilities in their hometowns. F45 has helped us exceed expectations in both revenue and participation.
Will: Do you have any advice for schools looking to bring F45 Training?
Jake: Looking back at it, I wish we had decided to go bigger with the space. We could have made the studio slightly larger, but we decided to make it a little smaller than the max size and I wish we didn’t make that decision. We currently max out at 27 person classes and I wish we had the opportunity to offer larger class sizes and more space in general.
If you would like to learn more about the F45 Training Collegiate Network and how we help students and faculty maintain their health and wellbeing, please reach out to Will Craig, Vice President of College Sales, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to speak with you soon!