Australia-born Fitness Concepts Are in Expansion Mode

Strong Pilates

As the global boutique fitness business heats up once again, Aussie franchise operators are staking their claim.

The latest: After opening its first London location in February, Australia’s STRONG Pilates is adding studios across the UK and Ireland.

Part of a larger plan to become an “integral brand globally,” the company has commitments to open 100+ locations throughout Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the US, and UK by 2027.

Strong trend. A mashup of strength-based Pilates and cardio training performed on its dual reformer/rowing machine, STRONG’s high-intensity, low-impact workout claims to get people sweating with a side of self-care.

Launched in early 2020, the brand was buoyed by post-lockdown thirst for strength and sculpt-style workouts, scaling to 20+ locations across Australia and New Zealand in under three years.

Now, co-founders—and former F45 franchisees—Michael Ramsey and Mark Armstrong are following a familiar trail abroad.

Aussie Rules

Whether it’s the country’s active and health-driven lifestyle or its dedication to the functional side of workouts, Australian fitness concepts are in high demand.

And as number of studios and memberships increase in Europe, the US, and the nascent Asian market (led by Singapore), Aussie franchises are capitilasing on their moment:

  • Boxing and strength concept UBX recently opened in Singapore and England, with master agreements in place to open 250 and 145 studios in the UK and Japan, respectively, over the next decade.
  • Following Xponential Fitness’s $44M acquisition in 2021, functional training concept BFT plans to open 150 sites in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, the US, and UK over the next 12 months.
  • KX Pilates opened its first Singapore studio in April, joining 100+ locations in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, China, and Taiwan.
  • Functional fitness brand Fitstop just opened its first US site in California, with another 10 locations planned by the end of the year.

But… pursuing hyper-growth comes with its pitfalls. After planting its flag with 2K+ studios across 68 countries, Sydney-born F45 Training is experiencing growing pains.

From tanking stock prices to studio closures, its fall from grace has been attributed to everything from a lack of demand to unsustainable expansion plans.

Looking ahead: With international fitness franchises like Xponential, Planet Fitness, and Anytime Fitness also posting record-breaking growth, there’s fertile ground for the right concepts. By combining low-overhead operations with a distinctly Aussie vibe, brands from Oz can go far.

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