Eight months after its IPO, F45 Training reported Q4 and full-year 2021 earnings on March 14, 2022.
Despite missing revenue estimates, the global HIIT studio franchisor is riding high on strong Q4 sales.
By the Numbers
F45 had a much-improved fiscal year and a big Q4. Yet, the multinational franchisor failed to top its yearly revenue estimate as losses mounted.
- Q4 revenue grew 242% YoY to $61.8M, while Q4 net income was $14.8M.
- FY21 revenue gained 63% YoY to $134M, missing estimates by $0.71M.
- Adjusted EBITDA gained 104% from the prior year, reaching $52M.
- 2021 resulted in a net loss of $182.7M compared to a loss of $25.3M in 2020.
- Systemwide yearly gym/studio visits in the US rose 103% YoY, hitting 10.8M.
Inside the Call
The Australian-born HIIT concept has amassed loyal followings in nearly 70 countries. With an asset-light model in which franchisees pay a monthly fee, as well as a one-time payment for the standardized equipment, F45’s portability has proven highly scalable.
And its growth arc is still on the way up.
Expanding the brand. In 2021, F45 Training cut the ribbon at 312 locations across the globe, reaching a total of 1,749 open studios. The franchise also sold an additional 1,057 franchises during the calendar year, reaching 3,301 signed agreements worldwide.
In the conference call, founder and CEO Adam Gilchrist opened with a comparison to McDonald’s and Starbucks. F45 has amassed more franchises in its eight years of business than McDonald’s did in 15 years; it took Starbucks 27 years to reach as many units.
The company’s strong end to the year bolsters its aggressive growth strategy, enabling F45 to retain the coveted title of “fastest-growing fitness franchise in the world.”
In 2022, the company is seeking to open 1,000 studios while completing 1,000 more franchise agreements. To ensure hyper growth continues at scale, F45 purchased 1,200 equipment packs for its new sites.
Studio-in-a-community. F45 has infiltrated formerly brandless fitness spaces by using shop-in-a-shop-style installations. Through its Collegiate Network, F45’s programming is available through gyms on college campuses.
The brand recently created a military division too, opening a gym in San Diego’s Marine Corp Air Station Miramar. And the latest: F45 Training is developing specialty locations for golf and country clubs.
Cross-training. In early 2021, F45 expanded beyond HIIT training with a yoga/Pilates hybrid studio called FS8. To support its streaming capabilities for Pilates reformer workouts, F45 then purchased Australia’s Vive Active.
Part of the golf club offering, F45 will install its signature and FS8 offerings, as well as develop new fitness modalities:
- Avalon House: A curated fitness program for women 45+ focused on building balance, strength, and endurance.
- Malibu Crew: A fitness clubhouse community for men 50+.
- Staffless Concept: A self-service general-purpose gym setup.
Of note, F45 also has rights to the IP of the now-defunct cycling studio Flywheel Sports.
Star power. F45 has an endorsement (and minority investment) from actor Mark Wahlberg, as well as signing English footballer David Beckham as a global partner. Last month, the brand named Gunnar Peterson as Chief of Athletics; he’s known for training Tom Brady, Kevin Love, and the Kardashians.
HIIT with a lawsuit. Not the only HIIT fitness franchisor in the game, F45 has been locked in legal battles with fellow Aussie concept Body Fit Training (BFT) for years. After a purchase by Xponential Fitness and court victory for BFT Down Under, the battle has only intensified.
Barring any pandemic-related gym closures, F45 Training is projecting between $255–275M in revenue in 2022, with an EBITDA of $90–100M. As a gameplan, it appears the more territorial conquests, the more revenue the organization can earn.
As a core market, CEO Adam Gilchrist believes the long-term potential for F45’s studio footprint in the US is 7,000. But to get there, it’ll have to continue to prove it’s a better, more nuanced workout than its HIIT rivals Orangetheory and BFT.