F45 Harrogate, which is part of a global franchise of more than 1,750 studios in 45 countries, organised the event just the afternoon before their flagship Saturday workout, known as ‘Hollywood’.
And within minutes of launching the session via video conferencing platform Zoom, more than 200 people logged on, meaning the town’s studio now holds the record for the biggest live online F45 session in the world.
Owners, Andy Preston, 34, and Matt Goodall, 26, both from Harrogate, said: “Europe’s F45 master trainer Frankie Nieto, challenged us to set a record for getting over 100 people participating in one online session.
“The night before we put out an appeal to all our members. Using our social media channels, we rallied the troops and put our faith in the community of Harrogate.
“Within 10 minutes we had more than 200 and we worked out that with additional family members taking part, it was more like 250.
“An F45 studio in a small town in the North of England has beat all the others across the world with that number, it’s insane.
“We said we would give £1 each to NHS charities for every person that took part, so we will donate £500.”
Matt and Andy, affectionately known by members as Mandy, took over F45 Harrogate from London-based investors in November, saving the gym from closure following a buy-out, bringing it into local ownership.
The pair have spent the last four months breathing new life into the studio, which is located at the Everyman cinema complex in the town centre.
So when lockdown forced the gym to close its doors, alongside others across the town, the duo were determined to keep sessions going to ensure they could provide support for both members and non-members.
Andy said: “We both knew it was coming, we just didn’t expect it to come quite so quickly. It was a case of turning it around in a matter of hours.
“It happened on a Friday and by the following Monday we launched F45 HGT Fit From Home, with more than 60 people taking part in the first session.”
The F45 Harrogate team, which also includes coaches Fern Summerton and Olivia Metcalfe, now run 12 free live sessions a week via Zoom, with one trainer working out alongside participants and another coaching and checking people’s form.
Matt said: “First and foremost we care about our members’ physical and mental wellbeing. We wanted to continue to provide them with a service where they could continue to workout with us.
“We are more than just a gym, we are a community. We are a big family. We care about people before profits.
“By offering two 45-minute classes a day, we are helping people stick to some sort of routine. We all know that routine and having some sort of structure leads to good mental wellbeing.
“We are aiming to keep the Harrogate community fighting fit during this crisis.”
The pair, who have coached at F45 since it opened two years ago, are now planning to keep their online sessions running when lockdown restrictions are lifted, so the classes are accessible to everyone.
Andy said: “Whilst initially it was a worrying time, there are now so many positives to take out of it. We have noticed people’s techniques have improved and we have had some great feedback.
“We’ve also been able to bring our group functional training sessions to a wider audience and show people what our community is all about.”
New online member Amanda Harwood took part in her first session a week ago and says she has been “addicted” ever since.
She said: “Being an avid gym person, I usually train around five to six times per week.
“Lockdown gave me a new opportunity to explore other forms of exercise, with the main focus of keeping myself fit, mentally and physically.
“I look forward to logging on at 5pm for my daily session, which delivers 45 minutes of high intensity exercise. Both of the coaches and fellow members are motivating, fun and you feel part of the F45 Harrogate team.”
Long-term member Zoe Hannah added: “It took me a week to pluck up the courage to do a class on Zoom. Since then I have done the classes most days.
“The daily routine has benefited me, and this has truly helped my mental wellbeing at a time when we needed it the most. I am the fittest I’ve ever been and this is down to the guys at F45 Harrogate, high five to them all!”
How to get involved…
* F45 HGT Fit From Home sessions are held at 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am on weekends.
* The free sessions last 45 minutes, alternating between cardio and resistance each day, with the flagship hybrid ‘Hollywood’ workout taking place on Saturdays.
By Brogan Maguire
Source: Harrogate Advertiser