F45 is one of the fastest-growing fitness franchises globally and has amassed over 1,700 fitness studios worldwide, with 322 studios across Canada and 117 set to open in the near future. The team training program merges high-intensity interval training (HIIT), circuit training, and functional training into a single 45-minute workout.
The brand is kicking off the summer with their C27 (their 27th global challenge) which runs on June 15 – July 29. The 45-day challenge is a nutrition and athletic training program focused on holistic well-being and the achievement of optimum health results.
We chatted with Toronto franchise owner Alyce Sparling to learn more about the growing fitness brand, changes she’s made to her studio post-COVID, and the growth of F45 in Canada.
How did you learn about F45 for the first time?
F45 came onto the scene when I was in my early 20s and still in university. My friend told me about this kick ass new workout we had to try, and I vividly remember my first class – it was myself, my friend and two trainers. The experience still stands out to this day – so motivating, so fun, so sweaty!
When did you become first involved with F45?
2016 was the first time that I started to seriously consider F45 and the model it offers. I was backpacking through South America for a year, finishing up with a move to Canada. Undecided at the time on what my career path would be in Canada, F45 came at the right time.
How long have you been operating your studio?
F45 Ossington opened in August 2017 – This year we will be celebrating 3 years with our #ossingtoncrew
What attracted you to the franchise?
Freedom. The freedom to be a business owner. To make your own schedule, build your own empire and have fun whilst doing it.
What was your career background prior to F45?
I was a Primary School Teacher in Australia for 4 years before opening my F45. Funnily enough, being a teacher crosses over very well to training fitness and managing 30+ bodies in a room!
What were your biggest fears/ concerns as you explored becoming a franchise owner? And what has been the best part?
Failure. Many nights were spent crying in those early stages – trying to figure it all out. My father was the one who told me to stop crying, give it a try, and if it fails it fails. As simple as that. The best part of becoming a franchise owner was joining the F45 community. Fellow owners, members, HQ – everyone is there to lend a helping hand. I’ve met such amazing people through F45.
What has your biggest learning been since launching your business?
That we – ourselves – can be our biggest advocates, and also our biggest obstacles. That it is okay to learn along the way, make mistakes and constantly strive to improve. But mainly that owning your own business takes blood, sweat and tears, but changing people’s lives is totally worth it.
What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?
Learning the work life balance. When the success of your business is tied to your work ethic, the 8 hour work day quickly goes out the window. Still to this day – my biggest obstacle has been learning to switch off and take a minute to admire my achievements.
How did you pivot your business in covid-19?
In the first 24 hours we pivoted quickly to providing our community with online workouts. Our goal through this entire time has been to support, stay connected with and be a constant for our members. No one is making gains during this time – right now it’s all about staying strong together and keeping our mindset healthy.
Is your studio involved in any local community initiatives?
Yes! One of the most rewarding aspects of establishing a strong community within our studio is being able to support and highlight other small businesses in the neighbourhood. Partnerships, charity workouts, and pop ups are just some of the ways we do so.
Fitness businesses are expected to get the OK to open in Ontario soon, how are you preparing for reopening?
We’re listening – not only to the Government & F45 HQ guidelines, but also to our members. Through surveys and ongoing conversations we’re making sure our members will return feeling safe & comfortable. Reviewing & adjusting the way we operate – programming, cleaning, entering & exiting, class schedules etc is all part of the prep!
What advice do you have for other female entrepreneurs that want to break into the fitness scene just as you did?
GO FOR IT. Surround yourself with the right team who will support you to make it happen. Never be afraid to ask questions – there are people out there who would love to help you. Find a female mentor, and be a female mentor.
Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?
BOOMING! But in all seriousness, continuing to evolve with needs of our members & being a leader within the fitness industry.