WORDS LAURA TUCK / PHOTO BRYDIE THOMPSON
You’ve no doubt heard the words ‘F45 The Mount’ thrown around by people in your workplace, PTA group or circle of friends. We sat down with owner Erica Scrivenor to chat about her talk-of-the-town business.
“Helping people feel happier and more confident is so rewarding,” she says. “It gives me goosebumps every day – it’s giving me goosebumps right now!”
Passionate, athletic and looking more like she’s waltzed off an activewear shoot than raced out to meet me between gym classes, Erica may seem like your typical trainer, but she hasn’t always been in love with fitness. Actually, she’s worked damn hard to get to where she is today.
“I used to hate the gym,” she says. “I’d go through stages of joining different gyms and bootcamps, but I’d always lose motivation. I’d feel sick at the thought of working out, so you can imagine my surprise when that feeling changed to excitement.”
Under Erica’s stewardship, F45 The Mount has grown fast in its first year, but the journey hasn’t been without its challenges. She’s moved countries, started a business and done a complete career 180. “I’m a nurse, so moving to the Mount and opening a gym has been a pretty crazy experience,” she says.
Erica grew up in the sleepy South Island town of Methven. After graduating as a nurse, she moved to Melbourne to complete her post-graduate studies, then eventually found herself in Perth.
“While I was in Perth, one of my friends joined F45 and became obsessed with it,” she says. “I was always reluctant to spend money on exercise, but when more and more friends started going and getting leaner and fitter, I decided to give F45 a chance.
“I loved it. Every day I’d wake up excited to train – which was definitely a new experience for me – and within three months, I’d lost 12 kilos and was feeling absolutely fantastic.”
When Erica and her partner James Gibb decided it was time to come home to New Zealand last year, they toyed with the idea of opening their own F45 franchise. “James managed to score a job at the Waihi mine, and we always wanted to live at the Mount, so we bit the bullet and bought the franchise,” she says.
Of course, business-savvy Erica did her homework first, juggling a full-time nursing job with part-time work as an F45 trainer while studying to achieve her personal training accreditation.
“There was a lot of red tape to navigate, but we finally opened in January 2018. James helped me with the numbers and the challenging fit-out around his long working hours. I flew my dad up to help with the plastering, but James and I did all the painting and sanding ourselves. We built walls, added bathrooms, and transformed a two-storey industrial unit into a fitness studio.”
Even though she was the new kid on the block, Erica wasted no time getting into the community spirit. Since its opening, the gym has generously sponsored a number of fundraising events, such as Mount Intermediate’s quiz night and Mount Primary’s bingo fundraiser, and has donated numerous gifts to community events and charities.
“A lot of our members are parents, so I wanted to give back to them,” says Erica. “We only knew a couple of people when we moved here, so we’ve made a conscious effort to get involved.”
Erica’s community values are present in every studio session – and so is James, whenever he can make it, as well as their miniature schnauzer, Humphrey. “As a business, we’ll continue to grow, but it’s important that we keep our family vibe,” says Erica. “Everyone’s welcomed with open arms at our studio – we love adding new members to the F45 family.”