Adam Gilchrist had fought against bankruptcy before launching the F45 fitness empire, with a ‘Greek way’ repayment plan to his debtors, the Daily Mail Australia revealed.

Documents obtained by the masthead show how Gilchrist – who recently stepped down from the company after a massive drop in its share price – was officially bankrupt when he launched the fitness business in 2013.

But for several weeks before he had tried to prevent being listed as insolvent.

Among his protests documented in affidavits was the claim that he had paid money back to a creditor via cash in envelopes delivered through his Greek Australian solicitor, the late Peter Alidenes.

Cellar Smart, one of the businesses founded by Gilchrist before F45, was accused of owing another company, Regada, almost $150,000.

But Gilchrist claimed he had made the repayments over a period of two years and had almost paid half of it back, saying in an affidavit that Regada did not take into account cash payments made via his solicitor.

“Cash was the common form of payment. The cash payments would be made by me or a third party visiting the offices of Mr Peter Alidenes and handing over an envelope with the cash inside it,” his affidavit read.

“‘When Peter Alidenes received the envelope he would not count the amount of money. He stated that he trusted what I said was in it. When I would visit Mr Alidenes we would get on very well and talk about his Greek heritage.

“He used to say words to the effect when taking cash ‘we Greeks prefer cash, it’s a done deal that way.”

“I was often late with payments (and) I would contact Mr Peter Alidenes (regarding) an electronic funds transfer and he would say ‘you’re late with this payment, maybe you should come in and see me and pay cash so I know that it has been done. Payment in cash suited me as I had friends that often owed me favours and were happy to loan me money enabling me to pay Mr Peter Alidenes in cash.”

Gilchrist co-founded F45 with Rob Deutsch in 2013, a year before he was discharged from the National Personal Insolvency Index in March 2014. He became a director of F45 in 2020.

The fitness empire that started in Sydney focuses on fast-paced workouts lasting 45 minutes and experienced 10-years of exponential growth translating to over 2,000 studios across 63 countries.

The company’s financial woes are attributed to a possible cash drain following multi-million dollar deals for endorsement of celebrities.

Mr Gilchrist withdrew soon after the share price crash crash with a reported payout of $10 million.