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F45 Sloans Lake is a functional fitness studio in Sloans Lake area that recently opened in August. “F” stands for Functional Fitness Training. “45” stands for forty-five minutes. The workout combines circuit training with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). F45 Training was originally founded in 2012 in Australia with the vision of creating a “structured, systemized and powerful Training System that could be implemented around the world“. Well, mates, mission accomplished – Today F45 is an expansive franchise with locations around the globe…. Okay, so forty-five minutes of functional fitness training using circuits and HIIT training is not a new concept, nor is there a shortage of franchise and independently owned studios successfully using this type of training to create fun and effective workouts for their members. So what’s unique?
To me, what makes any fitness studio unique, regardless of the format, is their community and the story behind the owner: Why did they open the studio? What drives them to wake up every day and pour their heart and soul into inspiring others to do, what is most often, physically uncomfortable? The answers to these questions set the foundation for a fitness studio’s community and overall vibe and member experience.
Why is a fitness studio’s community important?
How you feel before, during and after the workout is just as important, if not more important, then the workout itself. Feeling connected with the people who surround you is what drives your decision to get out of your warm, cozy bed before the sun comes up or trade out going to the bar after work for a workout with your fit fam. (Although, sometimes, there may be a drink after the workout!)
F45 Sloans Lake is part of a global franchise, however, the F45 Sloans Lake studio is also dedicated to their community. And since the community vibe goes back to the the owner, “the leader of the ship”, I’m gonna go ahead and dive into the backstory of Chris Pieczonka, the owner of F45 Sloans Lake. It’s an interesting and inspiring one! (More about the workout near the end.)
About the Owner of F45 Sloans Lake
“Life’s pursuit shouldn’t be in a selfish matter. It should be to get out and serve others.” – Chris Pieczonka, F45 Sloans Lake Owner
Navy Warfare Officer and Major League Lacrosse Athlete
Chris’ mission to serve, lead and focus on athletics, dates back to over a decade (the mid-2000’s) when Chris served in the Navy. He attended the Navy Academy and played Lacrosse on the Navy Academy Lacrosse Team. He soon went on to play for the L.A. Riptide, a Major League Lacrosse team. After graduating the Naval Academy, Chris became a Surface Warfare Officer. He spent time in Southeast Asia and the Persian Gulf on cruisers leading the training for and practice of the launch of Tomahawk Cruise missiles. (This takes intense leadership, focus and responsibility, which is putting it lightly. Thank you for your service, Chris.)
In the Navy, Warfare Officers ‘drive’ and command the warships. You initially work on the ship’s bridge, control the ship’s maneuvering, are responsible for the safe passage and navigation of the ship at sea, and manage the bridge staff and ship routines while on watch. – Defense Careers
As a Lacrosse athlete, Chris would often cross train at CrossFit boxes while he was deployed. After four years of serving as a Navy Warfare Officer, he decided this role may not be the right fit. He felt drawn to coaching athletics. Chris went back to the Navy Academy to lead the physical education program as a P.E. adjunct professor.
At the Navy Academy, the Physical Education program trains students morally, mentally and physically. The training is structured to not only challenge and hone physical capabilities, but also to train students for managing fight or flight situations.
The Corporate Life
After his time at the Navy Academy, he joined… dun, dun, dun … “The Corporate World”. He worked as a corporate technology consultant and managed multinational projects and large teams. Eventually Chris was traveling every week, and he was deep in the corporate grind. When his business travels took him to Toronto, Chris would take classes at SoulCycle. This is where he experienced the power of group fitness training. He knew he could go in for a workout and sweat out the stress of corporate job life. Toronto is where Chris also discovered F45 Training. While he felt connected to SoulCycle, he got hooked on the F45 workouts for the systemized programming and time efficiency.
The Shift to Life Balance and Going for the Dream
“I grew up on the East Coast. My parents taught me to work fucking hard to achieve success, and, that I can accomplish anything I want in life. My dream was to open a gym next to a coffee shop and a laundry mat.”- Chris Pieczonka, F45 Sloans Lake Owner
After living in and out of different cities coast to coast, and traveling the globe, the time came for Chris to settle down into one location and live a more balanced life. With Chris’ expertise, experience, and passion to serve others, opening a gym made sense. After careful consideration, he knew F45 would be the gym he would open. When Chris spoke about opening the F45 Sloans Lake location, friends and family told him that had never seen him more excited. His intuition told him it was time to go for it. Like most studio owners and small business owners, Chris has put a lot on the line to leave his successful corporate career and open F45 Sloans Lake. It’s only been a few months since Chris opened F45 Sloans Lake and classes are regularly on waitlists and the community is tight! Each time I visit, I’m met with friendly faces and people who are willing to get into one of my photos, even though they have no idea who I am. (Hahaha…I guess it’s pretty easy to win me over.)
“There is nowhere else I would rather be than Colorado. I really love it here. It feels like home. I love the energy. I want to be part of the community and give back.” – Chris Pieczonka, F45 Sloans Lake Owner
Chris is focused on creating a gym where you will get in a fun and effective workout with expert trainers and still have plenty of time to fit in work life and enjoy friends, family and activities outside of the gym. Beyond what happens inside his studio, it is important to Chris that he supports the local community surrounding the studio.
About the F45 Workout
If you crave structure, you will love the F45 experience! And, while the F45 Training experience is structured, you will not get bored. Each workout is different and involves a circuit. Each day you will move your entire body using a variety of body weight exercises and all the fitness equipment you can imagine! Some days are more strength-based while others are more cardio -based. All the exercises and programming are designed by F45 experts with the intention creating systematic results for overall functional fitness, fat burning, and strength and cardio conditioning. Bonus: Throughout the workout, the exercises are displayed on screens at the front of the room so you can keep track of what your doing. (I appreciate the screens because I inevitably forget about the demo once I start working out!) Read about the F45 Training workouts.
Watch the F45 Training promo video for a dose of inspo:
Watch the Interview with Chris Pieczonka + Brooklyn
Get More F45 Sloans Lake
Not able to make it to a FitLo Passport with us? You can check it out on your own with your first week free! Get your first week at F45 Sloans Lake free here.