From Coach to Owner: Grace Burton’s F45 Studio Launch

At the crossroads of fitness and entrepreneurship, Grace Burton stands out as a dynamic force. Burton is not only dedicated to her academic pursuits but has also ventured into the realm of business ownership with the launch of F45 Training West Athens.

Burton’s journey from fitness coach to gym owner illustrates her passion for health and her commitment to bringing high-energy, community-focused workouts to her college town. With her gym’s doors now open, Burton is turning her dream into a reality, creating a space where fitness meets community and where each workout is an opportunity for personal growth and collective enjoyment.

Read on to find out more about her journey from enthusiast to entrepreneur.

What was the turning point or motivation for you to move from being a coach to aspiring to be a gym owner?

There were many reasons for starting this venture, but the primary motivator was the absence of an F45 in Athens, GA. When I decided to pursue my Master of Science in Nutrition at the University of Georgia and was relocating to Athens, I couldn’t imagine living in a town without F45. After participating in F45 workouts for over four years, I wanted to share what I consider the best workout in the world with my new community, believing it would resonate well with the local demographic.

Transitioning from a coach to a gym owner is a significant leap. What were some of the biggest challenges you faced during this transition?

It was definitely a huge learning experience for me, and I’m so grateful for how it has helped me grow both personally and as an entrepreneur. Each challenge that initially seemed nearly insurmountable now appears as just one of many valuable learning opportunities. Personally, one of my biggest challenges was my lack of business experience, as most of my background was in coaching and managing. Fortunately, I had the support of a family member who owns a business; they served as my business consultant and mentor throughout the transition.

Another challenge was experiencing “imposter syndrome,” where you are no longer just the coach but also in charge of other experienced and talented coaches. Finding the balance between managing your coaches, taking the leadership role, and earning the respect, loyalty, and friendship of your team was crucial.

What kind of support and resources did you find most valuable during your journey to becoming a gym owner?

Before deciding to open my own franchise, I was inspired by Dee Duggin, the owner of F45 Winston-Salem, where I previously coached and worked out. Dee has created an amazing community at her studio and became an invaluable resource and mentor during my journey. My experience at F45 Winston-Salem deepened my love for the workout and taught me a great deal about how to run a studio effectively.

Additionally, speaking with other owners and managers I met along the way proved extremely helpful. The training received during the mandatory F45 inductions was also vital. I still use the tools and information I learned from those inductions and am grateful for the time I spent at F45 headquarters before opening my studio.

Based on your experiences, what advice would you give to coaches or gym managers considering the path to gym ownership?

Opening your own business is a challenging and stressful experience, but it’s all the more rewarding because of these challenges. Despite the ups and downs, I wouldn’t be the person I am today without having gone through this experience. My advice to anyone considering this path is to prepare yourself by utilizing all available resources, including those from F45 HQ and insights from other F45 owners. Learning from their mistakes and understanding what they wish they had done differently has been crucial.

Now that you are an owner, what aspects of your role bring you the most satisfaction? How do you measure success in your business?

This venture has been more rewarding than I could have ever imagined in many different ways. There’s no better feeling than conducting your favorite workout in a packed class with amazing coaches, after months of hard work and dedication to get the doors open. What brings me the most satisfaction is seeing our members and the community that’s being built within the studio. It’s incredibly exciting to witness a new member fall in love with exercise for the first time and reach new goals that they thought were unattainable. F45 Training truly changes lives, and the fact that my studio and staff get to be a part of that is an immeasurable success in itself.

For more information on how to become an owner like Grace, click here:

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