New F45 studio brings challenging, fun workout to Carmel Valley

Carmel Valley’s new functional fitness studio F45 celebrated its grand opening on March 4 in Piazza Carmel with attendees getting in a high-energy workout and toasting with green juice and protein coffee.

The interval training studio is a franchise out of Australia that is just getting its start in the United States. In the last two years, the franchise has grown to over 650 studios in over 24 countries. Owners Jonathan Huls and Ben Zintak opened the Carmel Valley location and will open their second and third locations in downtown San Diego and East Lake Forest in Mission Viejo.

Opening the gym has been a nice change of pace for Huls, who had been working a “normal corporate job” in San Diego for the last 10 years.

F45 in Pizza Carmel.
F45 in Pizza Carmel. (Karen Billing)

“I was working 60 hours a week and I got so burned out and wanted to do something else,” Huls said.

Keeping fit had always been something he enjoyed and he had never forgotten the F45 workout he fell in love with while traveling in Australia with his wife Brigette.

“I thought it was the best, absolutely greatest workout,” he said.

After finding out that F45 had recently begun franchising, he brought along his friend Zintak, whom he had met when they were both nuclear mechanics in the Navy.

Huls said what makes F45 unique is that the exercises are different every single day – with thousands of moves in the arsenal, you will never get the same workout twice. The workouts, as the name implies, are a functional 45 minutes of training each session, except for the weekends when classes are an hour long and feature a live DJ.

In a typical workout class, the instructor is at the front of the room leading the class but at F45 the workout is broadcast on TVs throughout the studio, freeing up the instructor to move throughout the class to motivate participants or correct form.

In F45 classes, Huls said you are never doing any exercise for more than a minute — rotating to different stations such as rowers, bikes, sled tracks, ropes, pull-up bars and to exercises like chest flys, weighted lunges, plyometric jumps, planks and burpee variations.

“The movements cater to just about anybody,” Huls said, adding people can always modify exercises to fit their level and everyone moves at their own pace.

There are three types of classes throughout the week: the more cardio-focused Athletica; the strength workout Romans; and Gravity, which is a workout without equipment utilizing all body-weight exercises.

“Everyone loves the Saturday classes,” Huls said of the live DJ and the fun and social workout atmosphere. “Those classes are always the most full.”

For the last few months, F45 has introduced itself to the community with workouts at the Lorna Jane store in Del Mar and classes at Fleet Feet in the Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch. Both local vendors were there to support the studio at the March 4 grand opening.

F45 offers a free two-week trial for newbies. To learn more about F45, visit F45 is located at 3890 Valley Centre Drive, #104, Carmel Valley, 92130.