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A Passion for People
Lisa Ann Petrie opened F45 Training CrossKeys to help locals focus on fitness and wellness with high-intensity, results-driven workouts.

by Kristen Dowd

Lisa Ann Petrie is the definition of a “people person.”

She loves to meet people. She loves to talk to people. But mostly, she loves to help people.

“My passion for people drives me,” Petrie says. “I just love to help people no matter who they are, no matter where they come from.”

When the opportunity to start her own F45 Training fitness franchise arose in 2015, it was that desire to help others—coupled with Petrie’s love of the program—that convinced her to move forward.

Petrie didn’t let being a busy mom of two with an established financial consultant business stand in her way. In fact, being able to offer both financial and physical wellness to clients, in addition to showing her sons, Robert and Ryan, the importance of following passion, made the decision easy.

“I said, ‘I really want this and I’m going to have this and I’m going to make it work,’” Petrie says.

In 2015, Petrie was on a business trip in London when she took her first F45 Training class with a friend. It was 45 minutes of nonstop movement, and Petrie was invigorated—if not a little worn out from the intensity.

“I said, ‘Oh my goodness. I can’t believe I made it through that class,’” Petrie remembers. “But it was so exciting, to feel your entire body had just gotten a really great workout.”

F45 Training (the “F” stands for functional) started in Australia in 2013 and, when Petrie was in London, had not yet made it to the United States. The program’s high-intensity group workouts incorporate cardio and resistance training to improve strength, energy and endurance, all while aiming to burn 750 calories in a single 45-minute workout. There is a cycle of programs so no workout is the same—and it’s fun.

After returning from London, Petrie started following F45 Training on social media, checking out workouts on the company’s YouTube channel so she could keep up with what’s new. Two years later, it was F45 Training founder and CEO Rob Deutsch who reached out to Petrie to let her know the company was expanding to the U.S. Petrie attended an introductory meeting and “fell in love with it.”

Plans started moving toward opening her own franchise in Sicklerville, a decision that she admits was completely beyond her realm. But as with everything else, Petrie was all in and she signed her franchise agreement in 2017.

“Everything I touch and have, I have to know every aspect and every facet of it,” she says.

She is certified as a trainer, too, even though it’s not required as an owner. The decision, however, turned out to be fortuitous when the COVID-19 pandemic hit months after she opened her doors.

Due to permitting delays, F45 Training CrossKeys didn’t open until June 29, 2019. It was a “gentle” opening, Petrie calls it, since the area is quieter in summer with many residents down the Shore. But by September, things really got moving.

“People were coming in, signing up,” Petrie says. “We had a great January and February.”

Then, on March 16, New Jersey shut down due to COVID-19. Petrie shut her doors on March 17, and this effervescent, self-made entrepreneur admits that she was concerned. She had two businesses that needed to survive. She had two sons—Robert, a senior at Jefferson University, and Ryan, a freshman at Immaculata University—to take care of.

The silver lining was that the F45 founders already had preparations underway for a home workout program to help their global team make it through. Franchise fees were paused, too.

“They said we were going to do whatever we can to hold onto whatever revenue we can, whatever clients we can,” Petrie says.

The at-home workouts via Zoom were first, and once the state gave the go-ahead, Petrie brought back outdoor workouts. Revenue did, of course, fall, but 49 clients stayed with the program, and the outdoor workouts brought in more.

When the state then allowed one-on-one training, Petrie put a plan in place with help from Robert to make it work at F45.

“I pushed forward and fought,” Petrie says. “I would go to sleep saying, ‘This is not going to happen. I’m not going to let this make me lose everything I’ve worked for.’”

Things have settled down since the pandemic’s early chokehold on the area. Petrie’s financial consulting business is still going strong, and her F45 franchise has found its footing. In fact, thanks to her sons and the marketing plan they created together, her revenue grew 80% in just six months and is still growing.

Given the combination of Petrie’s (and her sons’) business-savvy mind and passion behind the business, it’s no surprise F45 Training CrossKeys weathered the COVID-19 storm.

“This is a great workout. My clients that are with me love me,” Petrie says. “They love what we give them. They love that we’re a family here.”

Being a woman entrepreneur is “a rollercoaster life,” Petrie admits, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“The strength of a woman is her unconditional love for her children and others.”

F45 Training CrossKeys
651 Berlin Cross Keys Road, Sicklerville
(856) 259-2488

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 10.
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