West Little Rock gym helps Australia through donations, special workout sessions

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Devastating bushfires have been spreading across Australia for months, burning 40,000 square miles of land and killing an estimate of more than a billion wild animals. 

While the flames continue to rage, people around the world are coming together to lend a hand. 

On Saturday, a local gym in Little Rock did their part for a country that’s close to their heart. 

RELATED: Australia turns from defense to offense in wildfire battle

F45 Training opened its doors in West Little Rock almost a year ago, but this functional fitness workout program was born in Australia nine years ago. 

That’s why Kristie Obert, F45 West Little Rock owner, said F45 studios around the world dedicated their workout Saturday for their brothers and sisters down under.

“We want to do as much as we possibly can for them,” she said. 

It wasn’t your normal workout at F45 Training in West Little Rock on Saturday. 

“We learned about it about a week ago, so we jumped on board,” Obert said. 

While the exercise template was the same, she said the reason behind the sweat wasn’t just to burn calories. 

“We wanted to raise money. It goes to their Red Cross, it goes to their Wildlife Rescues,” Obert said. 

She said their special “Heroes Hollywood” session was a fundraiser for Australia Bush Fire Relief, where people could exchange a workout for a donation. 

“Small, large, it helps. That’s all that matters,” Obert said. 

With about 1,300 F45 studios in 33 countries around the world, she said everyone was pedaling harder Saturday for this cause. 

“Everywhere. Every country, every nation, all of us. We are all jumping in and trying to raise money to help them,” Obert said. 

She said a GoFundMe page for all the F45 studios was created at the beginning of January and already has over $190,000 raised. 

“Their goal was $150,000 and before we even started today, we had already passed the goal,” Obert said. 

People in F45 studios around the world helped surpass that target while getting stronger. 

Brian Brady took both of the classes F45 Training in West Little Rock held on Saturday, while sporting a specific color that everyone beside him had on as well. 

“We wear blue today to bring rain, the Australians believe blue brings rain,” he said. 

Brady said they are hoping to bring that precipitation to their brothers and sisters across the map. 

“We are a tight knit group, we encourage everybody. It’s like a family,” he said. 

Obert said she is grateful to have the opportunity to combine her passion of working out with giving back to a country in need. 

“I love to help my members, so being able to take that one step further and help somebody that I don’t even know — it’s really hard to even put words to it,” she said. 

RELATED: ‘Best rainfall in years’ | Rain drenches parts of Australia, helps contain fires and brings drought relief

You still have until the end of the month to donate to the “F45 Bushfire Appeal” GoFundMe page. 

There’s a class again on Sunday at F45 in West Little Rock at 9 a.m. if you want to break a sweat and donate at their studio.