F45 gyms are dropping like flies with debts in excess of $100,000 in several cases, leaving behind a trail of devastated customers and landlords.
On Wednesday, news.com.au revealed that multiple F45 training gyms – which are well known for their functional high intensity interval training (HIIT) 45-minute classes – had collapsed into liquidation while gym equipment was being sold incredibly cheaply on Facebook Marketplace.
Now it’s come to light that several more gyms have collapsed.
In two cases, the businesses have not yet entered liquidation.
One was repossessed by the landlord after racking up unpaid rent of around $80,000, news.com.au understands, while the other shut its doors without offering any explanation, leaving customers fuming.
Three weeks ago, Jamie*, who preferred to remain anonymous, rocked up to his local gym at Runaway Bay in the Gold Coast, as he had done for the past five years. Only, the premises were locked.
“Don’t you love a business where you train for over four years and nearly 1000 classes and you turn up early for a normal Saturday class to wait out the front with other dedicated paying members and they have closed the doors for good,” the 46-year-old dad told news.com.au.
He had paid for his weekly gym sessions when the company went under and doesn’t expect to see the money again.
In all, the avid gym-goer reckons he forked out $55 a week for half a decade, meaning he spent an eye watering amount during his time at the F45 franchise.
Jamie said he “enjoyed every class and it became a huge part of my life”, including helping him reconnect with his partner.
“The last two years my wife joined and loved it, it was a great thing to do with my wife for bonding,” he said.
Jamie was upset at the lack of notice about the gym’s closure, saying that management hadn’t sent an email or a social media post.
It was like the gym had “no care in the world” about its customers, he added.
Jamie recorded himself doing push-ups on the pavement outside the closed up gym in a final farewell.
Meanwhile, over in the state of Victoria, another F45 franchise had to be abruptly shut down after it racked up tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid rent.
The Gisborne F45 franchise had eviction notices plastered onto its venue and the landlord took possession of it last week.
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News.com.au understands there was at least $125,000 owed to the landlord when the gym was seized.
“The tenant is given notice that the landlord has retaken possession of the premises in the name of the whole pursuant to its rights under a written lease dated November 11, 2019,” one of the eviction notices reads.
“This notice is given by the landlord to the tenant to confirm that in accord with the written lease granted by the landlord to the tenant and dated November 11, 2019 the landlord now re-enters and takes possession of the premises in the name of the whole as a result of the breach of lease obligation on the part of the tenant to pay rent and/or other monies to the landlord,” the other says.
A big “FOR LEASE” sign also adorns the door.
News.com.au has contacted both gyms for comment, as well as the F45 Training head office.
On September 9 last year, the F45 franchise in Yeppoon, in coastal Queensland, went into liquidation, with Michael Beck of Worrells insolvency firm appointed as the liquidator.
Just a month later, a Melbourne F45 branch in the suburb of Sunshine also went under.
Peter Malone of CRS Insolvency was the appointed liquidator, and a company spokesperson advised news.com.au the company has ceased to trade in March that year.
It’s understood they were no longer able to enter the premises of the gym.
Then in November, Brisbane’s F45 scene was also gutted.
The suburbs of Newstead, Stafford and West End all lost their F45 franchises as the companies failed to turn a profit due to government restrictions because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The appointed liquidators of all three, Murray Daniel and Travis Pullen of B&T Advisory, told news.com.au that each gym had racked up debts of $100,000 to creditors.
They mostly owed landlords and the Australian Tax Office, and had no assets left.
Around the same time, the F45 gym in Mount Barker, South Australia, also went bust.
Liquidator of the Mount Barker establishment, Stephen James of BCR Advisory, told news.com.au that the business was hit by declining member numbers which “the owner tried but couldn’t turn around”.
Just this week, two other gyms are also under threat of being shut down.
On Monday, both the South Yarra and Port Melbourne branches of F45 in Victoria had a winding up application taken against them.
Both are understood to owe debts to Bizcap AU, a small business loan service, which lodged the winding up application in court.
News.com.au previously reported that gym equipment branded with the F45 logo was being sold on Facebook Marketplace in a massive bargain for buyers.
Listings show that piles of dumbbells are up for sale for just $3 a kilo, while kettlebells are being sold for even less, at $2 per kilo.
Adam Gilchrist and Rob Deutsch founded the company in 2013 in the Sydney suburb of Paddington and it expanded across Australia and even globally.
In 2021, it debuted on the New York Stock Exchange and made $500 million on the first day.
Yet since then stocks have declined, following the news of the brand pausing its expansion plans, along with 110 staff being laid off and CEO Mr Gilchrist would be stepping down from his position.
Mr Deutsch left the company in February 2020.
* Name withheld over privacy concerns
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