Empowered Brands Takes On Staffless Gym Concept fit+


Staffless gyms are taking off.

What’s happening: Empowered Brands, a UK-based franchise investor with territory rights to énergie Fitness and UBX, inked a master franchise deal with German staffless gym operator fit+ for the UK and Ireland.

Building on fit+’s 250 gyms and 87K members in Europe, Empowered Brands is eyeing 200 clubs in the region.

Reaching out. Reporting 200% growth in three years, fit+ predicts a global estate of 320 gyms by Q4 2024 and a turnover of €30M. Long-term, it’s aiming for 1K clubs in 28 countries.

The automated model offers 24-hour gym access in small towns or rural areas, which Empowered Brands CEO Mark Pinner says is a game-changer for underserved communities.

“Convenience is a driving force in the industry now more than ever before, with gym goers looking for a well-equipped fitness club in the immediate vicinity of where they live, and fit+ will provide exactly that and more.”

Upping access. Staffless models are gaining ground globally.

  • In ’22, German chain Just Fit launched Next Door, a 24/7 concept powered by EGYM.
  • Boxing boutiques UBX and 9ROUND are automating off-hours at studios, and KOBOX launched off-peak Open Studio sessions.
  • Chinese pay-per-use micro-gym Supermonkey reached 245 venues, while Singapore’s The Gym Pod hit 55 locations.

Meanwhile, operators like Canada’s Safe Sweat and London’s Solo60 see private, bookable spaces as an unmet need.

Takeaway: Lack of time, accessibility, cost and safety are barriers to exercise. While 24-hour gym access isn’t new, staffless models are connecting with populations big-box operators struggle to reach.

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