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F45 Fort Wayne: A Veterans Vision for a Healthier Fort Waye, Entrepreneur Rudy Lechuga Share His Story of Becoming an F45 Training Facility Franchise Owner

Rudy Lechuga is the owner of F45 located in Fort Wayne, IN.  F45 is a Functional fitness facility if you are looking for a workout place in Fort Wayne, In. This fitness enter is off Illinois Rd, Fort Wayne, 46804. Come get your workout in today.
Rudy Lechuga Owner of F45 Training in Fort Wayne, IN

Franchise owners often find themselves in a unique position, straddling the line between being a small business owner and being part of a larger entity. While there are benefits to being part of an established brand, franchise owners still have to go through many of the same challenges and responsibilities as any small business owner. Including managing the day-to-day operations, hiring and training staff, marketing and promotion, ensuring a positive customer experience, and overcoming any challenges that may arise throughout their business journey. One franchise owner who exemplifies this is Veteran Rudy Lechuga, owner of F45 Training in Fort Wayne, Indiana. When Rudy began hearing more and more about the F45 brand, he started looking into what it would take to bring the training facility to Fort Wayne. He quickly became obsessed with the concept and pursued his entrepreneurial dreams of becoming a business owner. When we asked Lechuga to describe what F45 is, he said,

“F45 is a functional fitness facility that combines circuit training and functional strength movements to provide an efficient workout that works for any fitness level. Everyone works, and rests at the same time, so you can go at your own pace, and make it as hard as you want. The “F” stands for functional, and the 45 stands for 45 minutes. I love that the brand programs the same workout for every studio worldwide for that day.”

Today, thousands of F45 studios are scattered throughout the world, but now, thanks to Rudy, Fort Wayne is finally on the list.

Rudy Lechuga was born and raised in San Jose, California. However, once he was in middle school, his family moved across the country to Fort Wayne, Indiana. When we talked about his upbringing, Lechuga mentioned that growing up without a father made his childhood different from most kids. Still, he remembers having an enjoyable childhood and spending a lot of time in athletics, where he was on his school’s wrestling and football teams. He even picked up volleyball in his early years of high school. Rudy spent most of his high school days at Wayne but transferred to Northrop midway through his junior year. After graduating from Northrop High School, Lechuga went on to play football for Anderson University. After a couple of years, Rudy returned to Fort Wayne and began taking business classes at a local community college. Before completing his degree, he decided to enlist in the Marines Corps. After completing Marine Corps boot camp, Rudy came home to be with his first-born daughter while still serving his country. After 6.5 years of being in the Marines, Rudy switched branches and joined the Air Force Reserves. When talking about that transition, he said,

“The Marines were fun. I loved it and everything it gave me, like the camaraderie and the discipline. I learned a lot, and it gave me the structure I didn’t really have growing up, but we weren’t going anywhere. I wanted to get deployed; that’s what you sign up for. My unit was in Terre Haute, and we hadn’t gone anywhere in the 6.5 years I was there. I started talking to a recruiter to see what it would look like to switch branches, and I did it. That was the biggest culture shock doing that switch, but I’ve been in the Air Force for a little over six years and recently signed another 2-year contract.”

We asked Rudy if he had been deployed since transitioning into the Air Force, and he said he was deployed to Turkey within his first year.

Owner of the F45 in Fort Wayne, IN Rudy Lechuga. This Fort Wayne fitness facility is new kind of workout when it comes to a new routine. Rudy Lechuga is also a trainer and want to see people become more healthy by this workout routines at F45.

When Rudy is not working on his military duties, he works for a corporate relocation company that helps large corporations move executives or other employees from one country to another with language and culture assistance to help make the transition easier for them. Although Rudy enjoyed both his military and civilian jobs, he still had the desire to become a business owner at the forefront of his mind. Although he had considered a few business ideas throughout his early adulthood, he never fully committed to them due to how difficult it can be to build a company from the ground up. That held true until owning an F45 franchise came across his radar, and he began looking further into the idea. When we discussed how he first came across F45, he said,

“I’ve been a part of a gym all my life. In the Marine Corps, I really started getting into functional fitness and cross fit and started seeing the benefits of what it could do. For me, and I think for many former or ex-athletes, you have nothing to fill that void when you’re done with high school or college sports. Going to the normal big box gyms is a good way to stay in shape, but for me personally, they’re not as fun as being in a group fitness class. So, being in a group fitness environment helped me push myself a little harder, but we didn’t have anything like F45 that combined technology with functional fitness in a boutique setting. The TV’s and the tech really allows the coaches to focus on the members and give them that personal training feel. At that time, I had never really heard of F45, but I had seen it a few times through social media. One of my best friends in Fishers joined one and raved about it, and then when I  went to my military training on a weekend, one of my friends mentioned he was a coach at one in Chicago. At that point, I was like, okay, I keep hearing about F45, I keep seeing the brand, what is this place? So I asked him, and he explained it to me, and then I asked my friend in Fishers more about it. After that, I started looking into it more myself and thought it was really cool. Then I saw they had a great program that helped Veterans become owners of an F45, so, at that point, I started looking into applying for one. I began talking to other studio owners and doing my due diligence to see what it was all about and how fruitful it could be. When I got the ball rolling, I became very obsessed with it and started going through their whole process of getting one, and now here we are.”

As we discussed the process of bringing the franchise to Fort Wayne, Rudy explained how much easier it was for him to open the business now that the groundwork was already provided to him from a structure and organizational standpoint. He said he would have never opened his own gym without those critical pieces because there are just too many variables that need to go into opening a gym right from the start. Now that he had the structure, the programming, and the support from other F45 owners, he felt way more confident in his ability to run the business. Although F45 is a franchise, Rudy still considers himself a small business owner. In fact, we believe most franchise owners should look at themselves as small business owners. Even though the structure of the business was provided to Rudy, it was still up to him to put out the money, find the facility, manage the construction process, hire and train staff, market to potential members, learn all the back-end requirements of the business, and overcome any challenges that came his way just like any small business owner has to do.

F45 is located at 9910 illlnois Rd, in Fort Wayne, IN. It is a great work out place if your trying to start out the new year strong with new goals. Fitness goals are huge at F45. Set your new health goals today.

As we talked about the beginning stages of getting started, we asked Rudy if he ran into any challenges, and he explained to us that the hardest part in the beginning, by far, was the construction process. He said,

“I got possession of the building in April of 2022, and it was one of those things where you just have to learn as you go. We got ownership of the building and got scheduled with contractors. Then we ran into so many issues with delays. I knew from the start that I didn’t want to start paying for marketing F45 until we knew that things were progressing because otherwise, we would just have people waiting for us to open. We waited to start marketing until August of 2022 with the hope of opening in early October, but then it was just delay after delay. Soon enough, 2022 went by, and we didn’t end up having our soft opening until February 18th, 2023, and then our grand opening on March 4th, 2023. So, from August of 2022 to March of 2023, there were just constant delays. People started to move on after a while because they wanted something now, so we didn’t start as strong as we wanted to or as strong as we could have. As frustrating as it all was, the biggest thing I learned in the Marines is to control what you can control. There’s no point in getting so frustrated and wasting energy on things you can’t control, and I feel like I do a good job at that with most things, but that was one thing that I had to do a lot throughout this whole construction process. Another challenge was that Fort Wayne has no other F45 locations in the area, so we didn’t have anywhere to train our coaches and teach them the system and technology. Most other cities with an F45 have multiple locations near them to learn from, but the closest one to us at that time was in Fishers, Indiana. I would try taking people there when I could, but that was definitely another challenge.”

Today, almost a year after F45 opened for business, Rudy has seven trainers who work at the studio, helping coach a community of members that continues to grow. As we talked about what the average week looks like for someone who goes to F45, Lechuga explained that each day will have a specific focus point, but the workout style will remain the same for about four weeks before transitioning to a new phase. Although the style stays the same for four weeks, the day-to-day movements will change with each day of the week circulating between cardio, strength training, and hybrid. Something we found unique about the program at F45 is that everything is time-based instead of having to do a specific number of reps or sets at each station before moving on to the next. This model ensures that members at any stage in their workout journey can participate without feeling like they’re falling behind or getting discouraged. As Rudy explained the program to us, he said,

“Each workout is work X amount, rest X amount. So, for example, on Monday, which is a cardio day, you’ll work for 40 seconds and rest for 20 seconds, and the overall goal is to maintain a higher heart rate around 85% of your max heart rate. Cardio days are going to blast your aerobic and anaerobic systems. Cardio isn’t just running, biking, or rowing the whole time either; cardio really means using lighter weights, more body weight work, and core work while working for a longer period of time. On Tuesday, which is strength day, it will include heavier weights, and the timing could be 30-35 seconds of work with 25-30 seconds of rest. It doesn’t seem like much of a difference because some think, ‘Oh, what’s ten more seconds?’ but that extra time of rest keeps your heart rate low so you can recover, and when you come to that next set, you can build up heavier in weight. So the main difference between cardio, strength, and hybrid will be the timing. It's not uncommon to see our members burn anywhere from 500 to almost 1,000 calories within the different types of workouts.”

As we discussed how F45 works, we asked Rudy what he thinks sets his studio apart from other gyms besides the program. He said,

“We have several TVs along the wall, so on days where we have a lot of stations, for example, 18 different stations, and you get to station 12, and you can’t remember what you were supposed to do, you can look up at the numbered TVs, look for the number that matches what station you’re at and it will show a looping demo of what you need to be doing. So, no matter where you go in the room, you’ll be able to see what you need to do. Along with that, we also have two certified trainers on the floor at all times, so that also makes us different. We want our members to have that feel of personal training while still in a group setting. With the two coaches on the floor and the third on the TV, you never have to worry about memorizing everything you have to do.”

Although F45 is still in its first year, it’s clear that the company is rapidly growing, frequently adding new members to the community. When we discussed Rudy’s hopes for the company’s future, he told us that he plans to keep the same mission he’s held since the beginning: creating a healthier Fort Wayne. His goal has been to create a space where people can build a community with like-minded individuals and help them become healthier and begin doing things they may not have been able to do before. Although opening a second F45 location would be a lot of fun, Rudy wants to continue putting all his focus into creating this studio into the best it can be before entertaining that idea. He even said he plans to remain a coach at F45 no matter how large the company grows. He loves seeing the light bulb click in people’s heads when he explains or shows them something new, and watching his members succeed in their health journey brings him a lot of joy. Outside of F45, Rudy is a father of three girls, and he’s always wanted to set an excellent example for them. Now that he is a gym owner, he feels he has learned many new valuable lessons in both business and life that he can’t wait to share with his girls.

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F45 is not just a fitness studio but a place where Rudy Lechuga is making a difference. His genuine passion for helping people shines through in every aspect of his work. Despite being a franchise, he has managed to create a small business atmosphere where he can personally connect with his clients and positively impact their health journey. As he continues to embark on his entrepreneurial journey, Rudy’s dedication to learning and bringing awareness to his studio will undoubtedly lead to continued success. When we asked Rudy what advice he would give to other entrepreneurs hoping to leap into business ownership, he said,

“The main thing is to take risks. I know that’s a cliche answer, but if you never start something or even start inquiring, you’ll never know what could have been. Look at everything as a learning opportunity. Regardless if the outcome is good or bad, you learn something. I wouldn’t be where I am if I had never started looking into F45 and asking questions. I’m not super successful or anything, but I wouldn’t have gotten to the point of battling all the roadblocks if I never took that leap to start asking questions. As a new entrepreneur/business owner who knew nothing and still has much to learn, I wasn’t scared to ask questions. Whether I was talking with banks or SCORE, I never tried to fake that I knew something. Being okay with not knowing what you think you should know would be my next advice. Lose the stigma that you need to know everything before you start a business. You can learn along the way; you don’t need a business degree to be a good business owner. You can research a lot of things on your own, or networking with other business owners can provide you with a lot of resources and information.”

Fort Wayne Business Journal talked to Rudy Lechuga, Owner of F45, a Franchise that help veterans and military becoming a business owner. Talking to F45 we learned that they are passionate on the community healthy and want to provide a service for people that have a need to to become a healthy you.  Check out the Fort Wayne Entrepreneurs stories with the Fort Wayne Business Journal.

We want to send a huge thank you to Rudy for taking the time to share his story with us and for his service to our country. We also want to thank Nike with Creative Roots Media for capturing all the photos you see throughout the article. If you enjoy seeing all the incredible people making an impact in Fort Wayne, one business at a time, subscribe to our free monthly newsletter so you’re always in the loop about what’s happening here at the Fort Wayne Business Journal.


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