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Forging friendships with functional fitness

Masterton F45 owners Alesha and Leon Wanders. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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Five months after leaving Australia for Wairarapa, Alesha Wanders was still missing her Gold Coast fitness community – so she decided to buy her own gym franchise in Masterton.

The F45 fitness studio she is going to set up provides 45-minute fitness classes based on High Intensity Interval Training and alternate between cardio-based training and resistance training.

Originally from Hawkes Bay, Wanders moved to the Gold Coast five years ago with her husband, Leon, and two daughters, and successfully started her own online social marketing business with customers spanning across Australia, New Zealand, America and the United Kingdom.

She went along to a F45 class last year based on recommendations from friends and has never looked back.

“I thought I would test it out and from the second day I was hooked, addicted.”

She continued training there until February when she moved to Masterton with her husband and now three daughters, to be closer to family who had moved to the region.

Wanders said she was loving the open spaces and natural environment of Wairarapa but something was missing.

“I was sulking about not being able to come to F45 because there wasn’t one in Masterton.”

She laughed as she admitted her friends did think she was a bit “extra” for buying a franchise to get the workout environment she wanted, but Wanders said other gyms didn’t offer the same benefits.

“There’s a lack of group-style training which caters to every fitness level and all age groups from 16 and up,” she said.

“I want people in Wairarapa to feel a sense of belonging and accomplishment in an all-inclusive environment and getting results consistently.”

F45 studios have a lot of the equipment you would expect at a gym – rowing machines, kettlebells, dumbbells –but not the larger and sometimes confusing traditional weight machines.

Wanders says what sets them apart is the high-tech equipment you don’t see at your average gym, such as monitors which display heart rate and calories burnt on a TV screen during classes and provide in-depth analysis at the end each session.

F45 also has an app for booking classes, which Wanders said helped her organise her busy week and stay committed to going.

A live DJ at the Saturday morning class will suit those who really want to make the most of the social atmosphere.

Wanders said the classes cater to all fitness levels and will have a “no mirrors, no ego” feel to them.

“You never repeat the same workout so your body will always be challenged and you never get bored.

“At the same time what you do today is not going to hurt tomorrow because you’ll be doing something different.”

Classes will initially be limited to 27 people per 45-minute session, with several classes throughout the day and two qualified trainers present during each session.

Both Wanders and her husband are also working towards becoming qualified trainers, and she will continue to run her social marketing business.

A site for the gym in Masterton has yet to be confirmed, but the couple are hoping it will be open by November.


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