Breaking News

F45, new fitness gym, comes to Bowling Green | News

It’s 5:30 on a Thursday morning, and Ashley Stotts is already hard at work. She hasn’t punched a time clock, and the work she’s doing won’t bring her a paycheck, but Stotts is still looking for a big payoff.

She and seven other clients are putting in work at F45 Training on Cumberland Trace Road, Bowling Green’s newest fitness center.

Getting a head start on their New Year’s fitness goals, Stotts and her colleagues follow video instructions that lead them through high-intensity interval training.

F45, so named because of its 45-minute functional workouts, was brought to the commercial center in front of the Cumberland Trace Village apartment complex in October by franchise owners Quentin Hunter and Janae Morelli. It’s catching on with clients like Stotts.

“I have friends in North Carolina who go to F45, and they told me it was a challenging workout,” Stotts said. “I work from home, so this is a chance to get out of the house. It helps my mental health, too.”

Another F45 client, Leslie Priest, also came to the new fitness center after hearing about it from out-of-town friends.

“I learned about this from my brother in Louisville, who has been doing this for years,” Priest said. “As soon as it opened, I wanted to try it.”

Stotts likes the high-tech nature of the workouts that incorporate weight training with a variety of aerobic exercises.

“It’s good because all the workouts are programmed ahead of time and are up on the screen,” she said.

Not that clients are left to simply watch a video screen. Hunter and Morelli insert themselves into the routines, giving instructions and encouragement while correcting problems with form.

Morelli and Hunter, both Western Kentucky University graduates, met while working as nurses and decided to pursue their shared passion for exercise.

Although new to Bowling Green, Texas-based F45 Training is a fast-growing fitness franchise that has expanded to more than 1,750 locations worldwide since its launch in 2012.

Morelli said she was attracted to F45 largely because it offers a wide variety of exercise routines.

“It’s set up differently each day,” she said. “We have a bank of more than 4,000 exercises.”

Both Morelli and Hunter were members of an F45 location in Hendersonville, Tenn., leading them to buy into the franchise that counts actor Mark Wahlberg among its investors.

Hunter, a U.S. Army veteran who did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, said his military background led to his love of fitness training.

“In the Army, If you’re not fit they’ll make you fit,” he said.

Although the F45 routines are far from a “boot camp” environment, Hunter said they still allow him to pursue his desire to help people meet their fitness goals.

“Over the years, fitness became my passion,” said Hunter, 37. “Now I’m making a living doing what I love. I could do this 12 hours a day.”

Hunter believes the workouts at F45 can bring benefits beyond physical fitness.

“I have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), accompanied by anxiety and depression,” he said. “I did not want to take anti-depressants.

“It wasn’t a conscious thought that exercise could be therapeutic, but it worked out that way. I’m glad I found this.”

Morelli is glad that she and Hunter found a way to open an F45 location in a growing part of Bowling Green.

“We’re both WKU graduates,” she said. “I really love this community. When we were looking for a location, I thought this would be the perfect spot.”

– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit

– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit