Female Disruptors: How Micaela Hogland, Grace Giles & Alyce Sparling of F45 Are Shaking Up The Fitness Scene
“Comparison doesn’t serve”. I saw this quote randomly on social media and it’s so true — the quickest way to discount your own hard work and bring negativity into your business is by comparing it with another.
As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Micaela Hogland of Etobicoke Central, Grace Giles of Bourum Hills, NY and Alyce Sparling of Ossington.
All three are female entrepreneurs and franchise owners who are ready to share their F45 story with hopes of inspiring and empowering female entrepreneurs.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Micaela: Once I had attended that first class in Melbourne at F45 South Yarra in 2015, I was hooked. I am a huge extravert so the community aspect of F45 really appealed to me. But we really started to get involved with F45 in 2016. We were going to sessions but we were also starting to talk about how amazing the brand is and how unique of an experience it is within the fitness industry; that, that we’d never seen anything like it. At the time, my husband and I were both working corporate jobs and were constantly talking about starting our own health or wellness brand. We’d always wanted to be entrepreneurs. At one point in 2017, I’d spent quite a few months working on developing a turmeric tonic with a neighbor. Ultimately, I didn’t go forward with it (though she did), and instead, Brent and I reached out to F45 Training to learn about franchising opportunities. At the same time, I had seen a friend posting about his new business venture in Toronto, an F45 studio! I didn’t even realize they had expanded to my home town of Toronto, Canada. That is when it all clicked for us and we realized the opportunity we had to help bring and build the F45 Training experience to Toronto. So we packed up our lives in Australia and moved back home.
Alyce: I recall my first F45 class quite vividly, as my friend told me about this kick-ass new workout we had to try. It was myself, my friend and two trainers. I was hooked. The experience still stands out to this day — so motivating, so fun, so sweaty! In 2016 I started to seriously consider F45 and the model it offers. I was backpacking through South America for a year, finishing up with a move to Canada. Undecided at the time on what my career path would be in Canada, F45 came at the right time. I was inspired by the thought of being a business owner, making my own schedule, and building my own empire — while of course having fun!
Grace: Living in Melbourne, Australia in 2016 I worked as a personal trainer. I began to see ads on Facebook for F45. As an athlete, I was already involved in functional training and really liked the concept of team training. I took a few classes, they were extremely challenging and super fun, I fell in love with the workouts straight away quickly taking on a part-time position as a trainer at F45 Preston and Coburg which only grew my love and involvement with the brand. I truly believed in the workouts. Most of all, I had seen the life-changing communities F45 had created and was passionate about bringing that to NYC.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
Alyce: One of the most rewarding aspects of establishing a strong community within our studio is being able to support and highlight other small businesses in the neighborhood. Partnerships, charity workouts, and pop-ups are just some of the ways we do so.
Micaela: One of the things that stands out to me is how F45 has really changed the game in terms of offering an incredible workout that is accessible for all fitness levels. It is rare to find a fitness experience that can cater to beginners and professional athletes all at once, but F45 does just that by working in modifications, regressions and progressions with any movement throughout the workouts. We’re also always pushing the envelope with our tech with the offering of our LionHeart Heartrate Monitor tracking system, the F45 Challenge App and our F45 Live online workout offerings as an added bonus to a membership.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
Alyce: I’ve been so lucky to have a sleuth of female F45 owners around me. We are all going through the success and struggles of owning our own businesses, that we more so co-mentor one another. Each of us brings something to the table, it’s a perfect balance.
Micaela: It’s hard to nail down a few specific mentors because there have been so many people who have greatly influenced our F45 journey. Our owner network is so strong and we’ve developed some amazing friendships. Kurt and Alyce of F45 Ossington in Toronto stand out as we trained with them every day for 6 months whilst we were preparing to open our own studio and it’s safe to say we learned very quickly what it looks like to run a fun, welcoming and professional F45 studio. Thanks, legends!
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
Alyce: 1- “You will always find a way,” a fellow female F45 owner told me this during the very early days of building out F45 Ossington. It completely switched my mindset from getting overwhelmed with obstacles, to tackling everything head-on with a solution-focused mindset. 2 — “Follow your gut,” my best friend told me this not long after we had opened and it has served me very well. In an industry where health and wellness is paramount people know if you’re not being genuine or if you have ulterior motives. Use your head but know your gut will tell you the right thing to do. 3 — “Comparison doesn’t serve” I saw this quote randomly on social media and it’s so true — the quickest way to discount your own hard work and bring negativity into your business is by comparing it with another.
Micaela: “Trust the process” is a good one that I really believe in but it has been a harder one to apply myself… It’s an entrepreneur’s way of saying “enjoy the journey”. We often get fixated on our goals and where we want to be in 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, etc. I’m sure we could all benefit from a reminder to slow down and let things happen as they will. That’s not to say you shouldn’t work hard and make things happen for yourself, but if you take each small step forward as a win, you’ll be a lot happier.
How are you going to shake things up next?
Alyce: By reopening F45 Ossington stronger and more disinfected than ever! Adapting to the new normal of the fitness industry and building our business back up.
Micaela: Well first, we have to reopen F45 Etobicoke Central and build our business back up to the buzzing community it was before the shutdowns! Then, we’re hoping to open additional studios in a city that currently doesn’t have any. We’d love to introduce this amazing brand to a brand new community and then progress from there.
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
Micaela: One of the more recent books I read that had a huge impact on me is “Shoe Dog” written by the founder of Nike, Phil Knight. It was such an incredible story because it’s one of the most recognizable companies in the world yet most of us know so little of how it started and came to be the powerhouse it is today. Hearing Phil’s first-hand stories starting from the origin of the idea, his running days in Oregon, trips across Asia riddled with misfortunes, the number of times he came within moments of losing his business, the triumphs and the leaps of faith over the decades — it was a true journey of perseverance and it really put things in perspective for me. For podcasts, the Rich Roll Podcast has influenced me pretty heavily over the years. Rich is an incredible athlete and an advocate for a plant-based diet.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Micaela: For people to live and lead with more empathy and compassion. Also, to stop letting fear dictate your decisions or lifestyle.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Micaela: “It’s not what happens, it’s how you react to it”. I don’t know who said this originally but it’s a phrase that I think of often and it’s a very practical reminder for any business owner. There will inevitably be obstacles along the way so you may as well accept that fact so that when something does happen, you can focus your energy on being proactive and solution-based. There have been countless experiences in my life that haven’t necessarily turned out the way I envisioned them but it’s usually because something better is waiting.
Alyce: GO FOR IT. Surround yourself with the right team who will support you to make it happen. Never be afraid to ask questions — there are people out there who would love to help you. Find a female mentor, and be a female mentor.
Grace: Follow your passion. Women are strong, women will support each other and lift each other up. Support your fellow female business owners and learn from each other.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Alyce: @sparsy @f45_training_ossington
Micaela: @miclovin @f45_etobicokecentral
F45 Training: https://www.instagram.com/f45_training/
Find your studio: https://f45training.com/find-a-studio/
Workout from home through the Challenge App: https://f45challenge.com/
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!