F45 is was started in 2012 by ex-equities sales trader, Rob Deutsch after receiving his redundancy cheque post-GFC. Four years later, he had set up close to 500 franchises across the US, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, Australia and Asia and was targeting to hit 700 by the end of 2016.

With a style similar to cross-fit; the high-intensity of F45 is perhaps the FASTEST, most addictive style of group fitness in the world. Understandably when it produces not only some astonishing results to the physical body, but develops the mind to keep pushing past self-limiting beliefs.

Like Deutsch, F45 St Kilda East Director, Keith Palermo saw an opportunity to switch from the corporate world that had shaped his life. He wanted to follow his passion for fitness, and with the skills and mindset he had used for starting his own accountancy business, he was ready to adapt that education to opening his first F45 studio in Melbourne.

This week, I interviewed the now dual franchise owner, Keith Palermo, and asked him about the challenges, changes and success he has found from flipping the script of his life, and taking a dare on his passion.

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Director of F45 St Kilda East &……………………….Keith Palermo


M.E. “First and foremost, can you explain what F45 is for those who might not know?”

K.P. “F45 Training specialises in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in a functional group class setting. Classes are team based and place a huge emphasis on three key factors: motivation, innovation and RESULTS.

With over 15 different classes, when you turn up for a session, every workout is a unique experience. As exercise combinations and classes change daily, there is no opportunity for your body to ever get used to the training. One day you could be skipping, pushing a sled or using plyometric boxes, and another you could be on a bosu ball, lifting sandbags or using a TRX suspension trainer. F45 is loads of fun, it has a great atmosphere with a team environment, and is catered to people of all ages and fitness levels to train in.”

M.E. “With a strong background in accounting, what made you want to make the seemingly abstract move to own and run your own f45 franchise?” 

K.P. “I grew up working in a family business that was started by my grandfather (over 50 years ago and is still around today!). Being in this environment sparked my interest in wanting to work for myself and run my own business. I thought that accounting would satisfy this interest. However, after working in the corporate world for 3 years and obtaining my Chartered Accounting (CA) qualification, I knew that it was not the way I wanted to spend the rest of my life.

“I also had a strong passion and connection with fitness, regularly training up to five times a week. I eventually decided to resign from my corporate role and get into the fitness industry full-time; it was a natural progression for me.” – Keith Palermo

Soon after my resignation, I came across F45 Training after heading off to LA for a fitness expo. I looked further into F45 and after checking out a studio in Melbourne, I thought the whole concept was great and something that I had to definitely get involved with. F45 seemed to incorporate all the things that everybody enjoys when working out – a supportive environment, functional exercises and a GREAT energy that comes with working out in a group.”

M.E. “Finding a spot for it must have been a struggle in itself with permits and lease arrangements, then training staff and marketing your business – but clearly that didn’t stop you! What was your motivation to keep pushing past hurdles you faced?” 

K.P. “Making the jump and starting my own business was extremely tough! There were many issues in finding the right studio for members, getting council permits, as well as hiring and training staff in an industry that was all new to me. It literally took me one year from buying into F45 Training to opening my first studio in St Kilda East. Facing all of these issues and setbacks only made me more determined to open. I continually had to brush off these challenges (some harder than others) and keep moving forward. I wouldn’t take back these experiences though, as I have learnt more than I could have imagined from these struggles.

“The F45 Training product and brand is awesome and believing in the business model has also given me much confidence to continually pursue my goals.” – Keith Palermo

My partner Zoe has been amazing as she has constantly supported this passion of mine. I am also lucky to be surrounded by a great team of staff, trainers and members who love F45 as much as I do.

I have recently opened up another F45 studio in Berwick and I am excited to possibly open more studios down the track

M.E. “Aside from your own personal success with the business, how does it feel to know you are changing the lives of others in a healthier, more body positive way?” 

K.P. “Building a business that is continually helping people become fitter, healthier versions of themselves is personally very rewarding. At the studios, we have a wonderful community of fun, supportive and like-minded members who are from all different backgrounds. Seeing F45 become a key part of their lives and assisting them make positive changes to their health and wellbeing makes the journey very worthwhile. ”


M.E. “From your clients perspective, what are the biggest challenges they face when starting and STICKING to a routine to achieve their fitness goals?” 

K.P. “When starting a fitness routine the biggest challenge would have to be setting a realistic time commitment for yourself. Although you might have a hundred other things to do in your day, setting time aside to work on your health and fitness goals each day is key.

It is important to set daily and weekly goals so that you focus on your gradual progression and so as to also not get overwhelmed at looking ahead to the big picture. F45 training is great in that you are in and out of the studio in 45 minutes and the workouts are constantly changing and challenging you. That variety is a huge part of why most people keep coming back for more.”


M.E. “Obviously you spend a lot of hours at work, but when you’re not doing a class yourself, how do you enjoy keeping fit and healthy?” 

K.P. “I have recently started yoga two times a week (which helps me relax when not working) and I am also back training in the gym and studios.”

M.E. “Lastly, if you could offer one piece of advice to budding entrepreneurs, what would it be?” 

K.P. “My advice for budding entrepreneurs – Take action and start now and don’t be afraid to try!”


If you’re interested in trying the life changing effects of F45, you can get a TRIAL PASS on this page for St Kilda East or grab yourself a FREE PASS for the new Berwick studio! F45 is all about community, so expect to enjoy a whole lot of group events from 8 week challenges, playoff’s and team outings, to getting your sweat on in the variety of classes offered each week.

Could you be the next F45 playoff champion?


Love & light,

Monique Elouise x