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We got to know James Drake, owner and trainer of F45 Training, ahead of the studio’s next 8-Week Challenge.

Let’s get personal! Can you tell us where you live in Byron Bay, James? 

I live in Suffolk Park. We came down in February 2017 from the Gold Coast.  

How long have you been running F45? 

I was an insurance broker and my wife owned a cafe which she sold. F45 opened up near my office on the Gold Coast and I started going. I just loved it! I’d never felt better. We always loved the idea of moving to Byron – the drawback being we had to have something to do for work down here. So this was the perfect opportunity and we thought we’d try to bring [F45] to Byron. 

What was the attraction of Habitat for F45? 

With the council we were told we couldn’t put a fitness facility anywhere other than a new development. So it just so happened that this was really good timing. They were looking for a fitness facility to come in here. We got talking to Byron Bay Property Sales and found this space and it worked out amazingly well. 

We had the owner of F45 here the other day and said this was the prototypical studio for an F45 space. Lots of natural light, high ceilings, the perfect space. 

How do you and F45 Byron Bay support the ethos of Habitat? The live, work, play concept? 

We all get involved with other co-inhabitants. The biggest part of F45 is a community aspect, so getting involved in the local community in particularly with the tenants of Habitat. We’ve got a great relationship with downstairs [Barrio], they train here and we eat there. We’ve had a few functions where Barrio catered for us. Beau [the barber from Byron Bay Barber Co.] does my hair. We’re stoked about the pool which opened earlier this year – pretty happy about that! 

What type of person would enjoy visiting F45?

It caters for everyone. We work at your own pace in here we have plus 60 year olds in here training alongside 21 year olds. It’s really health conscious, people looking for motivation that the team environment can instil. The community environment is what’s really attractive to a lot of people. It can be daunting at the start! It looks like a boot camp but really you work at your own pace, we encourage progression of exercises, we cater for everyone – if there’s something you can’t do we scale it back to something you can do. There are so many different types of people in here.

What are some current or upcoming projects for F45?  

We regularly host the F45 8-Week Challenge – meal and exercise plan – the training stays the same, so it’s a tailored meal plan. The bloke who won our last challenge lost 14% body fat so absolutely smashed it.  The next 8-Week Challenge starts on October 8 and will be our biggest Challenge yet. It’s the perfect time to fine tune your Byron body for Summer.

For us newbies, what’s your favourite F45 session?  

They rotate all the time but at the moment on Fridays we do Fox Trot which is a big cardio session and a great way to end the working week and pump up the endorphins for the weekend.  

As a local, what’s your favourite thing to do in Byron Bay? 

A good Saturday morning workout at F45 at Habitat and then breakfast at Barrio! Or the Lighthouse Walk obviously.

The 8-Week Challenge kicks off on October 8. For more information or to sign up, visit the F45 Byron Bay website.