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F45 Drives Engagement With Unique Blend of Fitness Culture & Tech

F45 Drives Engagement With Unique Blend of Fitness Culture & Tech

There’s no shortage of individuals who want to get into fitness and wellness but fail to take the necessary steps to put themselves on a mat, treadmill, or bench. Gym intimidation and general “know-how” are both common obstacles in that journey. F45 Training, the ultra-popular functional fitness franchise, is not only clearing a path forward, but working as a friendly guide along the way.

Despite its size as one of the world’s largest fitness franchises, F45 remains committed to personalized fitness with certified trainers on board to help members overcome setbacks, disabilities, or fitness education shortcomings. The F45 environment, built around a strong culture that promotes camaraderie and support amongst all gym goers, makes member acquisition and retention a major strength for the company as it plots a new path forward under CEO Tom Dowd

A Warm Environment

From the jump, F45 walks new members through their local studio to help them feel relaxed and understand that whether they’re someone who works out consistently, hasn’t worked out in several years, or even ever before, that this is a place for them. F45’s coaches play a large role in that, having been trained to safely modify each functional training movement to any member’s individual needs. 

Any fears or insecurities that might hold someone back from a more fit lifestyle are attacked head-on via this introductory process. F45 gyms consider themselves a place for all fitness levels, strengthening each studio’s support system and sense of openness to all. 

“Our big push this year is focusing on getting the people who are afraid to come into the studios, afraid to go into a gym, and really welcome them with open arms by spelling out how easy it is to work at your own pace and how easy it is to start with us because you have a hands-on approach with our trainers,” Dowd tells Athletech News. “We’re going to be there to support them from day one and make sure they’re comfortable in moving through the process. We’re so proud of our culture, the high-fiving and the energy. It’s just a welcoming experience.”

Tom Dowd (credit: F45 Training)

In Q1 of 2024, F45 also plans to launch beginner classes, which focus on less-experienced gym goers just looking to get started. 

“We’re very excited about the beginner classes,” Dowd said. “That’s going to enable people to dip their toe in the water and get in and check it out. It’s amazing to read the statistics on how many folks are just so anxious about working out in front of other people.” 

Tech & Gamification Drive Engagement

F45 also employs cutting-edge technology, specifically gamification, to retain members. With a wide variety of software at their fingertips, members can track their progress and compete against themselves, or others to stoke their competitive fire and build on their accomplishments. 

credit: F45 Training

F45’s new Lionheart tech is one example of the tools in play for F45 members to keep them entertained and motivated. The wearable monitor tracks heart rate, effort levels and calories burned during workouts. Users are encouraged to hit certain marks while wearing the device as their progress is shown in real-time with the wearable connected to in-studio F45 TVs.

“This year we’re really working on engagement through technology. The Lionheart experience, measurements and gamification are going to be a big deal for us,” Dowd said, “The tech is designed to help members understand the progress that they make at F45; it plays a great role in keeping members motivated and supporting their training goals.”

Other tech-based advancements at F45 include the brand’s training app, which grants users a one-stop spot to book classes, check out meal plan options, check up on progress and work out remotely. F45 also carries its own radio station “Fitradio,” which features upbeat tunes combined with F45 ambassador voiceovers to enhance one’s workout experience.  

Leaving No Stone Unturned

Along with its beginner classes, F45 offers members three main workout styles to cater to the masses. In addition to its signature functional training workouts, F45 recently launched two new brands, FS8 and VAURA, to expand into other fitness and wellness modalities while maintaining F45’s core principles. VAURA puts members in a high-intensity, athletic reformer Pilates environment, while FS8 features a 50-minute experience of yoga, Pilates and toning.

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“We want to make sure we’re offering the different modalities to really cater to everybody’s needs,” Dowd said. “We’re very focused on toning, yoga and Pilates so that we offer something different to the marketplace.”

VAURA Pilates (credit: F45 Training)

But still, Dowd feels there’s more to accomplish in terms of expanding F45’s arsenal of offerings — and by extension the brand’s community of members. He mentioned recovery as an aspect of the fitness and wellness experience that F45 will aim to get involved with this year. 

Simply educating the public about the benefits of  F45 functional training workouts remains a focal point as well. 

“A lot of people still don’t know what F45 is,” Dowd said. “So the biggest opportunity for us is to educate people about who we are.”

FS8 (credit: F45 Training)

Dowd noted the rising popularity of strength training among fitness consumers, and says F45 plans to stake its claim to that share of the market with its unique take on functional training.

“How do we tap into that community of people who are looking for strength-based training?” Dowd said. “How do we get them into the high intensity (workout) that’s very scientifically based? How do we get them into the low intensity like Pilates? More importantly, how do we get them to do all of them with us?”

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