We’re a society that is task-rich but time-poor. Between work commitments, family and everything in-between, focusing on our health often gets pushed down our list of priorities until it’s too late. This is a situation that health and fitness evangelist Juso Julardzija from F45 in Caroline Springs seeks to readdress.
Health and fitness has been an important part of everyday life for Caroline Springs F45 franchisee, Juso Julardzija (aka. JJ). Taking out his first gym membership at the age of 16 set him on a journey that would dominate his life. He served time in the Army, underwent successful soccer stints with Redlands United in Queensland – as well as the Altona Magic, St Albans Saints, Sunshine George Cross and North Geelong Warriors closer to home – and clocked up over 10 years as a personal trainer.
JJ has seen plenty of training fads come and go – freeweights, cardio training, Les Mills classes, bootcamps and Crossfit, to name just a few. So when he was introduced to the concept of F45, he was sceptical about its efficacy, to say the least. But just one session convinced him otherwise.
“If it wasn’t for my wife, I probably would never have tried it,” JJ explains. “She said ‘Go on, try it.’ I’ve done so many fitness workouts of all different types and this one just got me so hooked because I was really engaged and it went so quick.”
The concept behind the F45 revolution
Developed by Rob Deutsch, the roots of F45 were laid in an inner-city Sydney gym in 2012. It is a functional system of high intensity interval training (HIIT) that delivers weight loss, increases muscle and improves overall health over a seven-day cycle, burning an average of 400 to 800 calories during a 45-minute class.
The cycle includes sessions designed to improve cardiovascular health, biometric-based health sessions (explosive movement patterns i.e. jumping, power-to-weight movements, etc.), body weight sessions and weight/strength sessions. There are over 32 different types of workouts. The fact that no class is ever the same is a major point of difference for someone with JJ’s experience as a trainer and fitness lover.
“We’ve actually never repeated a workout. It’s always something different every week,” confirms JJ. “Regardless of whether the class is the same, the actual workout and exercise will be different. There’ll be timing patterns or movement patterns used previously, but there’s always some variety in it.”
As JJ points out, one of the many benefits of F45 is the majority of movements complement the things you do in daily life: squats, sitting down in a chair, getting up out of the couch and so on. It’s the body mechanics we use in our every day that makes F45 ideal for people with plenty to do but not much time on their hands.
The potential of Melbourne’s West for business growth
At the time JJ purchased his franchise in Caroline Springs in October 2016, the F45 brand was already growing – and continues to grow, especially internationally (founder Rob Deutsch described F45 to the Sydney Morning Herald in 2017 as growing faster than McDonald’s). Living in nearby Derrimut, JJ was planning to start a family so working close to home was an important factor. Being a franchisee, the choice of territory was also crucial when weighing up his options. Before opening his gym, the nearest F45 ‘competitor’ to JJ was at Highpoint Shopping Centre and Hoppers Crossing.
“The potential was there, but F45 was still fairly new in the western suburbs, so I did my research in terms of how many homes there were in Caroline Springs, and how many homes were going to be built out towards Plumpton and Rockbank and towards Melton and so on,” says JJ. “All of those areas are only going to continue to grow, which is a great thing. In terms of the clientele, we’re talking anywhere between 60,000 to 80,000 people that are passing through the western corridor to and from Ballarat on a daily basis.”
Even though his F45 gym is surrounded by no less than 13 other fitness centres within a one-kilometre radius, JJ is adamant his offering will stand the test of time.
“Ravenhall and Caroline Springs is a fitness hub,” he explains. “There’s just so many gyms out here that it’s been really competitive but I invested in F45 because the product itself was so good. We pride ourselves on our training, and making the sessions more and more intense, and more and more enjoyable, so we get more and more results for our clients.”
The case for Caroline Springs
JJ admits to constantly marvelling at the growth of Caroline Springs and the western suburbs in general. Being so close to the freeway – only 20 minutes to the Melbourne CBD – means the area is becoming a destination of choice for many young families and entrepreneurs.
“We’ve got people that travel from Yarraville to come here to our F45 gym, because they work nearby – they want to train with us – so we made sure we have really good shower facilities and have created a real boutique studio feel to the place.”
“The train station’s been built just recently which has also helped,” continues JJ. “It’s just been a big boost for us. It’s been really, really positive.”
Turning a passion for fitness into a rewarding business
Describing the last 10 years as “phenomenal”, JJ says he’s one of the fortunate few who has a job he loves with a passion.
“I wouldn’t even call it a job, to be honest,” he admits. “It’s not an issue for me to get up at 4.15am and go to bed at 9pm at night, as long as someone gets a helluva great workout because I take it personally when someone walks out of F45 and goes, ‘Ah, that was pretty easy.’ That bothers me. That’s just who I am. I’m very competitive, very passionate. I’m always leaving my heart on my sleeve when it comes to anything to do with fitness or sport.”
From 16 year-olds to his oldest client at 61, there’s no limit to the kind of people who can enjoy F45 and get results. In fact, there’s no reason why a septuagenarian couldn’t do an F45 workout just as enthusiastically as a 50 year-old.
Likewise, with so many people in Caroline Springs starting families, JJ and his team have seen plenty of Mums-to-be keeping in shape. “We’ve had a lady training with us who was 39 weeks pregnant with a big belly and was still able to do the workouts. And, as far as the debate about fitness and fertility goes, we’ve seen more than 20 of our regular clients and their partners share their news with us that they’re expecting, which is great!”
For JJ, the influence of his F45 studio on people’s lives is the ultimate gift. He made a calculated move to base his business in Caroline Springs, and he’s been able to give back to the local people as much as they’ve given to him.
“I love it when people come in who doubt themselves, or doubt the product, but then you show them that it works. I love watching them transform into something they never thought they could be, or feel the way they feel. It’s just a joy to see people change for the better.”
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