After Brian Trainor graduated from the University of Maryland in 2015 with a degree in finance, he landed a job as an analytics manager with a health care technology company. But the corporate world’s appeal began to dissipate.
“I always worked 9 to 5,” he recalled. “They say it’s 9 to 5, but it’s really 8 to 8.”
Outside of the office, Trainor gained certification to be a personal trainer, working with family members and friends to get them into better shape. Realizing that being a desk jockey was not his career path, he consulted with his father, also named Brian Trainor, who runs a home health care business and previously managed a Curves for Women fitness center franchise. The Trainors agreed to team up on a new business endeavor centered on fitness and wellness.
“When Brian told me that he really wanted to go out on his own, we did our research and looked into different businesses,” the elder Trainor noted, with the pair investigating different gym franchises. “We kept seeing and hearing great things about F45 Training. That started out in Australia and took the country by surprise.”
The younger Trainor visited existing F45 Training centers in Manhattan and Port Chester, New York, and, with no degree of exaggeration, found that he “fell in love with the actual process. I talked with other F45 owners. They seemed to love the product.”
On Dec. 8, the Trainors opened their F45 Training franchise at 222 Post Road West in Westport. The elder Trainor acknowledged that opening a fitness center right before Christmas “was not the most opportune time, but it worked out well because we got our kinks out of the way and were able to get a jump-start on Jan. 1.” Since its debut, the Trainors culled more than 150 members with some traveling into Westport from Norwalk, Wilton and Weston.
Unlike a traditional gym where members take a solitary navigation through a constellation of machines, the F45 Training center is open and airy with no cumbersome apparatus to be found. And unlike gyms where members focus on a solitary pursuit of muscle building and flab reduction, the F45 Training process is designed to be a group effort with all members participating in scheduled classes.
“All of the workouts are functional, meaning everyday movements like pulling, pushing, squatting, jumping, lifting, hinging,” the younger Trainor stated. “Everything you do on an everyday basis, we are trying to make you more efficient and effective. ‘45’ stands for 45 minutes. Every single workout that we do is 45 minutes long, on the dot. It starts at 5:15 in the morning and ends at 6 every single time.”
The younger Trainor added that the regimen offers a “great mix of cardio and resistance classes, so we break them down in separate days. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are always cardio. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays are always resistance. And Saturday is our Hollywood Class — it is our only hour-long class and is a combination of both.”
The Westport facility features nine televisions posted on the walls that broadcast what the day’s workout session will entail. The younger Trainor noted that two to three personal trainers are on hand to walk members through the exercises.
“The best thing I like about it is that it’s all time-based and not rep-based, meaning that you get 45 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest,” he added. “That means everybody is starting and stopping at the same time, which means there is no competition involved. You can go as slow as you want or as fast as you want, which makes it scalable to all fitness levels.”
“It is personal training in a group atmosphere,” observed the elder Trainor. “And the beauty of the 45 is that you never do the same workout twice. There are over 3,000 exercises in the database so it is constantly changing. So, when someone comes here they don’t have to decide what they are going to do and when they are going to do it. It’s already laid out for them and they know it’s going to be different and vibrant every day.”
While the F45 Training program involves a recommended meal plan for members, the Trainors go the proverbial extra mile by addressing the specific needs of each individual. “We have a registered dietitian on staff who is there for all our members,” said the younger Trainor.
“Who happens to be my daughter,” interjected his father with a laugh. “She’s a registered dietitian who graduated out of Columbia and works with college athletes. We don’t charge anything extra.”
The Trainors have promoted their business by going door to door to the neighboring businesses on the Post Road and handing out fliers, and they even conducted a class at the Athleta store in Westport. For their first two months in business they offered a free two-week trial for prospective members. They are now continuing with a one-week free trial because, according to the elder Trainor, “we are that confident in the product.”