Are you thinking about doing either CrossFit or F45? Maybe you’re doing one and thinking of switching.
This article lays out some facts for you that will help bring some clarity and decision. What’s better – F45 or CrossFit? Let’s find out.
The answer to this depends on the environment you prefer, whether you’re fussed about the implementation of tech, the price you can afford and whether you even have an establishment near you. Overall, CrossFit is broader in its permutations of workouts and variety. F45 can be seen as a slimmed-down version of CrossFit. Both have benefits, as this post will detail.
What is CrossFit?
Simply put, CrossFit is a training methodology, the premise of which is based on high-intensity, functional movements, and is constantly varied.
It’s based upon a number of different sports, exercises and activities to increase human fitness across 10 different domains.
The name CrossFit lends itself to being generally fitter and across a number of domains.
For more information on this topic please read this Bets Gym Hacks article here.
What is F45?
F45 is a franchisee model of gyms with over 1700 locations around the world. It bases its workouts on metabolic and cardio activity, also using resistance training (weights) too.
The F stands for functional training. The number 45 represents the number of minutes of each class (45 minutes).
The training methodology is similar to CrossFit in that it is high-intensity and functional. However, it is less technical in movement repertoire.
With regards to the more complex techniques, CrossFit has more that you need to learn, plus the ancillary and accessory lifts that go with them.
Where did F45 come from?
F45 is now based in the US (Austin, TX) but it was founded in Sydney, Australia.
It was founded in 2013 by 2 entrepreneurs called Adam Gilchrist and Rob Deutsch, both of which have stepped down from their roles in the business in 2021 and 2020 respectively.
It’s rapid growth saw it being planted in ‘Western’ countries, particularly the United States.
What happened to F45 market shares?
If you follow the markets you might have seen in 2021, Gilchrist founder and ex-CEO is said to have made $500m overnight (AUS) after F45 went public.
Deutsch stepped down earlier on, in 2020, from his CEO duties. He received a tasty little payout, but not as much as Gilchrist who according to public sources was handed $10m.
“A far cry from its floating price on the New York Stock Exchange $16.10 a share.“Kaldine Media
The share price was noted to have plummeted by over 60%. Gilchrist stepped away from the business in 2021 after his exit and left with over $10m in a payout agreement.
Over 100 staff were also said to have been laid off from its head office. Ouch.
The reason for the layoffs was to balance the books and maintain a positive cash flow forecast.
Like many businesses, especially those operating in the leisure industry, Covid has had a significant impact on the F45 growth plans.
This impact continues to cause the franchise model to stagnate – or lack the trajectory path once projected – in its growth.
Celebrities and F45
The Daily Mail reports that Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg was the 2nd biggest shareholder in F45, but sold his shares (that totalled over 1 million in number) for an apparent $12m+ USD.
David Beckham has also been seen to be a frequenter of F45 gyms in the past.
These 2 and other celebrity endorsements helped foster the meteoric growth of F45, as celebrity posting on social platforms is effectively high-level online ‘influencer’ marketing.
What do Gilchrist and Deutsch do now?
Both Gilchrist and Deutsch are known to have invested in significant property empires following their exits from F45.
It is reported in various newspapers and media outlets that both are prolific property investors.
Given they are entrepreneurial at heart it’s hardly surprising that they’ve gone into something else which requires investing money. With a strong basis of capital, they are both established property investors.
You can see from the social media platforms in which they post that they enjoy the finer things in life and that property is one of them.
Similarities and differences between CrossFit and F45
F45 is somewhat of a ‘halfway house’ – or partway house – between a normal gym, a CrossFit gym and a personal trainer (PT).
The atmosphere they aimed to create was one of laid back and community feel, but one that you are pushed and is results driven.
The aim is intense and functional training, cardio-based with some resistance – guided by a trainer, but without the boredom of a standard gym and without the price tag of a PT.
They also utilise screens and heart rate monitors so you can see in realtime how hard you’re working.
This happens to be very similar to how CrossFit naturally manifests itself – excluding the screens and tech.
Some people do wear tech in CrossFit by personal choice. This is normally linked to your phone.
The franchises are more tech driven than CrossFit. Heart rate monitors, instructional screens and clinical cleanliness is what you can expect.
CrossFit is loud and sometimes clanky and janky. Barbells being constantly dropped. Very little tech. Spit and sawdust in its approach often, too.
F45 has patented tech. The reliance on screens and a trainer (different from a coach) also dictates the flow of a class, instructing when to move station.
The screen demonstrates the movement.In CrossFit, the demo is carried out by the coach.
In some ways, F45 can be viewed as a trimmed-down and simplified version of CrossFit. No ultra-technical movements like Olympic lifts are involved.
It’s highly biased on intervals and station work with rotations.
The tech, cleanliness and less-technical-movement vibe may suit some people.
It is similar to ShredQuarters’ approach to group PT gym class atmosphere, which isn’t too intense.
F45 may be less intense
CrossFit can be a bit overwhelming for some people, so F45 may better suit these people. Those who find themselves needing guidance/motivation in the gym but don’t enjoy Olympic lifts or technical gymnastics.
Either way, both CrossFit or F45 can give them a good old-fashioned beasting.
They’re designed to behard work. #HWPO after all
Differences and similarities between CrossFit and F45
There are some resemblances between the 2 activities, but also striking differences.
Here’s a useful table with some overview comparisons between them.
|1 hour class||45 min class|
|15,000+ independently owned affiliates with different style and flavour||1700+ (2019) independently owned affiliates franchises – all quite similar|
|WOD’s can be shorter but more intense and often much heavier. Equally, some WODs can last an hour – or more!||Workouts can be longer but less intense, using less technical movements|
|Similar pricing to F45. Both more expensive than a gym||Similar pricing to CrossFit – both cheaper than a PT. General analysis shows CrossFit to be a little cheaper, however.|
|Prides itself on well equipped but oftentimes basic spaces||Prides itself on well equipped, tech-heavy and clinical spaces.|
|No colour or branding stipulations meaning each affiliate to its own flavour and style||Red, blue and white branding seen throughout to comply with franchise branding rules|
|Each affiliate follows it’s own programming. Some members also do their own programming. Some Follow CrossFit Main Site programming||Every franchise does the same workout each day – programmed by F45 HQ|
Which is for me?
It might be that you’ve tried F45 and then goes to a CrossFit.
If this is the case then it may not be as disconcerting or as intimidating walking into a CrossFit gym for the first time.
Similarly, if you’ve done Crossfit before, going into an F45 gym may feel familiar.
Overall they are pretty similar in many ways but also very different. You may find the atmosphere similar, but the workout movements and equipment are somewhat different.
What would suit me best?
It probably will boil down to how much money you want to pay per month, your contractual tie in worry, and generally which workouts you prefer doing.
Given the success of Crossfit and the fact there is 10 times as many gyms in the world, although it’s approximately 12 years older, something needs to be said probably for its level of popularity in comparison to F45.
Make sure to check out the Best Gym Hacks flow chart for F45 vs CrossFit. Also, this post has another flow chart specific for starting CrossFit, too. Check it out!
F45 does not place a strong emphasis on warm-down and stretching at the end of the class. The simple reason is that it’s 45 minutes long, so precludes the ability to have time for warm down/stretch off at the end.
Warming down and stretching is a key part of CrossFit classes. This is to help prevent injury and is just good exercise practice 101.
Stretching is important
As a group, stretching those muscles you just used in the workout is very commonplace after the WOD. It gives you a chance to happy-moan about how painful the workout was with your buddy, too.
Everyone does the same workout at F45
Another key difference is that every F45 gym in the world does the same workout on the same day.
On the opposite site of that, you can walk into any CrossFit gym and do something completely different every single day of the week from now on to you’re age 99. The variation is endless.
By virtue of the number of gyms, multiplied by the infinite number of movements and scalability, permutations for CrossFit workouts far exceed that of an F45.
Which is cheaper – F45 or CrossFit?
Pricing of F45 and of Crossfit is dependent on each place. As an F45 franchise, they can still set their prices and adjust them to what they like.
The same goes for CrossFit gyms. As an affiliate, there is no strict ruling on pricing. So you will find that CrossFit gyms vary hugely in their membership cost per month.
Below is a table which will help give you some guidance as to the costs of an F45 membership with its comparable in the same region, to be used as a guideline.
|CrossFit Gym||F45 Gym|
|CrossFit Central London – £230 p/m Unlimited||F45 Soho London – Rolling Membership £220p/m or £205p/m Contract|
|CrossFit 1971 Stratford – £175 p/m Unlimited. No min months||F45 Stratford – based on 3 Month min £199.00 p/m|
|CrossFit Connect (Brighton City) £110 p/m Unlimited||F45 Brighton Central – £180 Unlimited Rolling Month to Month|
|CrossFit Sleven (near Vauxhall London) Unlimited £200p/m||F45 Vauxhall – £209p/m Unlimited with 3 month contract|
|TRAIN Manchester CrossFit £110 p/m Unlimited||F45 Manchester NQ – £160 3 Month Unlimited|
Contract tie ins
Invariably, F45 ties you in with 3 month, 6 month or 12 month contracts to get the cost reduced, i.e. the longer you sign up for the cheaper the month works out to be.
CrossFit Gyms tend not to take this approach. They offer 1-month Unlimited sign-ups as a flat rate more often than not.
Economy of scale
Some CrossFit gyms do offer 3, 6 and 12 months – or bulk buys – to reduce the cost. However, it is less of a sales tactic that is deployed more heavily by F45.
The above overview is just that – a high-level view. Have a look at “F45 and CrossFit near me” on Google to see your nearest. You may find there is no F45 near to you, deepening on your country and region within the country.
Also on the websites, you can find out what exactly it will cost you, depending on how committed you are feeling!
In general, when considering F45 tie ins and their overall rates for Unlimited, it is more expensive to join an F45, with tighter get out clauses.
What’s better – CrossFit or F45?
This is dependent on how technically difficult you like your exercise. Or how clean you like the gym; how hard and varied a workout you’re feeling; or whether you’ve even got either one nearby.
From a statistical perspective alone, you are more than likely to have a CrossFit box nearby than an F45. There are 10 times as many CrossFit gyms in the world as there F45.
CrossFitters vs F45ers view
If you speak to a CrossFitter, they will no doubt say it’s better than F45.
Likewise, if you speak to F45 members, they’ll likely tell you it’s better than CrossFit.
Oftentimes, neither one has done the other! So to answer the question about what is better, you should try both for yourself and see.
Ask your self the following questions when you go there as a starting point:
- Do I like the Olympic lifts (the Snatch or Clean and Jerk) and want to get better at them?
- Do you prefer it where the gym is it’s more tech-based, such as screens and heart rate monitors?
- Do I like a mixed bag of sometimes pretty heavy workouts to work up to?
- Do I like it nice and clean and clinical or do I mind a bit of ‘spit and sawdust’?
Decider Flow Chart
To make this easier have a look at the flow chart below which will help you decide whether you might prefer CrossFit or F45, based on your natural preferences.
Should I do CrossFit or F45?
If you are currently doing no exercise, the answer is absolutely yes – you should do either Crossfit or F45. Doing some exercise instead of nothing is far better for you.
Both of them are good for the mind body and soul – in the sense that one directly influences the other.
A healthy mind helps have a healthy body and soul. A healthy body has a positive effect on your mind.
Both types of gyms our community based for sure. Crossfit has the benefit of having many more affiliates in the world, so you can capitalise on visiting CrossFit gyms and feel comfortable when you walk into any one of them.
Furthermore, there are many CrossFit competitions every week throughout the world taking place, normally in CrossFit gyms or in stadiums purposely fit out temporarily for CrossFit competitions.
If you feel that you want to compete, you would probably be more suited at doing CrossFit instead of F45 as many of the movements will be known to you when you get to the competition floor example.
That said, F45 gyms also attend Crossfit comps. For example, at the summer Turf Games this year in London, an F45 gym actually did very well on the leaderboard.
So if you do end up doing F45 not Crossfit, don’t be afraid from doing CrossFit comps! They’re always a lot of fun.
Summary – CrossFit or F45?
To summarise, both Crossfit and F45 will be good for you.
It just depends on what you want to experience when you go there. And how you like the overall environment to be also has bearing on the decision. Give them both a try if you’re not doing any exercise at all.