Business,  Health

Interview with F45 owner: Andrea Lorenzon  

An interview on business ownership with F45 owner: Andrea Lorenzon.

Andrea Lorenzon is the owner of three F45 locations across Toronto, Ontario. She is a 33-year-old fitness enthusiast with a passion for living life to the fullest. She is an inspiring woman who was unhappy in the corporate lifestyle, took life by the rains and changed the course of her life to be happy and live it to the fullest.  

Andrea is originally from Maple, Ontario, but has lived in Toronto for 12 years. She is a dedicated dog mom to her 13-year-old puggle, Timmy, and he is Andrea’s best friend. She loves to take him on adventures.  

Throughout her life, Andrea has always been an athlete and has played sports from a very young age. She started working out in a conventional gym when she was 20 and had no idea what she was doing or how to start. She got a personal trainer so that she could learn the basics and how to push her body to do all these amazing things. Her love for moving her body grew as she got her personal training certification a few years after, and took on some clients herself. During her travels abroad, she was introduced to F45, and she instantly knew it was going to be a big part of her life.  

Can you tell us a bit about F45 Training?  

The ‘F’ stands for Functional – It’s the type of training that almost anyone can do. We rotate through strength, cardio and hybrid-style classes so it is a very well-rounded training program. I love that it never gets boring! F45 is always innovating and staying ahead of the game. The community in each studio has its own unique vibe. It’s amazing to see people who come together over a shared passion for fitness.  

What made you take up fitness as your profession? Why F45 specifically?  

I used to work at a corporate job a few years ago. I always thought it would be my ‘forever’ career, but I just wasn’t happy about it! I decided I wanted to take some time off to travel, so I took a leave of absence and went to Southeast Asia for around six months, before heading to Australia for a year. I didn’t want to work another corporate job while I was there, so I decided to look for a job in fitness – a field I knew I already loved. A couple of weeks into living in Australia, I found an F45 studio and applied to work as a trainer. I got the job and immediately loved it.  

A few months into living and working there, I was promoted to a management position. That position was the best job I ever had. It was the perfect mix for me because I got to coach during half my time, and the other half I worked on the business side of things – sales class, managing the team of coaches, implementing retention strategies, leading workshops etc. I started to think it would be great to have a studio of my own when I returned back to Canada. I had a chat with my then-bosses about it, and we decided to join forces and partner together. That’s how the Opulent Group Canada was formed, and now we have three studios in Canada together. To say I’m happy about my growth is an understatement.  

Living in Australia, where F45 was founded, working as a coach and a manager in a studio before the ability to open my own locations put me in a really great position to hit the ground running. I was already very familiar with the sales process, leading a team and operations in general.  

How have you handled the challenges the pandemic has thrown at you and how were you keeping your members motivated?  

It takes a lot of grit and determination to keep pushing through after the last few years. It was probably the most challenging situation I could find myself in as a business owner. I was very fortunate to have a lot of support during the pandemic. I had a great team of coaches, support from my business partners and an amazing landlord who was empathetic to the situation that we found ourselves in. During the pandemic we kept our clientele motivated by doing online classes, mini-weekly challenges and outdoor sessions when we could.  

Is there an ideal clientele for F45 training?  

Anyone who wants to get fit and have a great time doing it! We have people come in who have never stepped into a gym before, we have seasoned athletes and everyone in between. We are able to help modify any of the movements to suit our members’ skill levels and existing injuries.  

When you’re not running your three locations, what are you doing in your spare time?  

Pretty much anything active! I love going for hikes, playing volleyball, going to the beach with friends, and trying new brunch and drink spots all over the city. I also love to travel and try to explore a new place every year!  

According to Sports Alliance Statistics, the male population makes up over 70 per cent of gym owners. In a predominantly male-run business, how does this affect you? Do you feel any disadvantages as a female business owner and how have you overcome this?  

This is definitely interesting because I certainly felt as though I was at a disadvantage when I first started out. However, I think that had a lot to do with a lack of confidence in my capabilities. Being an entrepreneur was brand new to me and I was still learning my footing. Over the last couple of years I have learned to assert myself straight away, to set the tone that I need to be taken seriously and that I know what I’m doing. I have confidence in my skills, capabilities and experience and I try to exude that in my interactions.  

The vast majority of people that I have worked with have been great and completely supportive. I truly believe that a lot of that has to do with not really giving anyone the option of not taking me seriously! I don’t have an issue taking up the space that I deserve in this industry!  

What do you look for in your coaches and staff to better support your businesses?  

I look for people who align with the goals that I want to achieve for the businesses. I want members to know that every time they step in the door to one of my studios, they are getting a great experience. This means looking for coaches who are responsible, willing to learn, knowledgeable, and passionate about delivering top-notch sessions.  

What would be your advice to other women looking to become gym owners?  

Arm yourself with as much experience and knowledge as you can. The fact that I managed a studio before I opened my own gave me a huge advantage.  

Always be open and willing to learn. And then just take the plunge and do it. It can be really scary letting go of something that is comfortable, but if you want to elevate your life, you have to take risks. For me, the risk of becoming an entrepreneur was absolutely worth it. I learned that even if you fail, you can always stand back up! 

Gyms can sometimes feel intimidating to first-timers, how do you make your gym more welcoming for those trying out F45 for the first time?  

We offer tours of our space before new members come in for their first class. This helps them become familiar with the physical space beforehand. We walk them through the workout step by step so that they are prepped for what’s ahead. We also provide modifications for the more complex movements to make sure they still get a great workout. We usually pair new people with the OGs so that they have some additional help getting to the right station!  

What is the best thing about being a strong woman (both mentally and physically)?  

The best part about being mentally strong is that nothing phases me at this point! It has taken an incredible amount of mental strength to be standing where I am today. There have been plenty of times where I’ve been tempted to give it all up (mainly during the pandemic where there didn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel). I’m proud of the fact that I just kept on pushing through. My mantra is “Nothing is the end of the world.” No matter what life throws at you, you can make it through.  

The best part about being physically strong is feeling like a superwoman! I’m up for (almost) any fitness challenge and it makes day-to-day life easy and fun. I love being able to jump into classes with our strongest members and give them a run for their money!  

Can you share a time during the years of running your business when you felt helpless?  

I felt pretty helpless from 2020-2021. It really seemed as though there was no coming back from the pandemic. My first studio hadn’t even taken off yet – I signed the lease in January 2020 with no idea what was about to happen. We finished our construction two days before months of lockdown. I felt really out of control, with no idea how to handle things going forward. Thankfully, we are past that now!  

What are some of the bigger challenges you are facing today as a gym owner?  

Like most business owners, the rising costs of basically everything. We do our best to keep our pricing fair and in line with what other studios are charging. It’s a delicate balance.  

One of the challenges that I personally face is spending enough time at each studio. I genuinely care about the well-being of every single member of my gyms, so I like to make sure I spend enough time at every studio, engaging with our members.  

How do you engage with your members?  

I personally take a lot of classes at all of my gyms! I love working out with our members. We challenge and motivate each other. I also love coming up with mini-challenges throughout the year to keep people accountable and motivated.  

Is F45 training for pregnant women? What steps do you take to ensure this?  

It is generally safe for pregnant women! We always recommend that women check with their doctors before starting or continuing their training with us, to ensure that all is well before they begin. There are a few modifications that we need to make as the trimesters progress, but our coaches are well-equipped to handle this. We have lots of pregnant and postpartum mamas in our gyms and they are all amazing.  

Many women have been misled by flawed nutritional advice, do you have any opinions on this?  

Just like any other industry, things change as more information becomes available, and as certain trends come and go. Generally, quick fixes appeal to people. They want fast results – but this isn’t usually the best route. Unfortunately, there are companies that often prey on vulnerable people. It definitely makes our jobs a bit harder – we do our best to ensure we are as informed as possible with current information.  

To people who haven’t experienced F45, how would you describe the differences between what you do there and what you see in a typical gym, like Goodlife?  

F45 provides essentially personal training in a group setting. We know the name of every person that walks in the door – we know their jobs, we know if they have kids. We are a big community in a small business – it’s a feel that you don’t quite get at a big box gym. We call our members who haven’t booked into a class in a while, to see how we can help them get back on track. We want people to maximize the use of their memberships, get results and feel amazing.  

Of course, everyone has their own preferred style of training, but if you are into group fitness, then F45 is absolutely the way to go.  

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