Top 15 Gym and Fitness Franchises in Australia
In the Article (Quick Access)
Time to move from Burger Franchise in Australia to the Top Gym and Fitness Franchise in Australia.
So – Have you ever thought about launching your fitness studio? Or are you looking for a business with huge potential and are interested in investing in it?
I reckon ‘Fitness is a sector’ you should look at and what better than looking at some of the famous existing fitness brands that provide franchises in Australia.
You might be wondering – Why Fitness?
The Australian health and fitness industry is one of the major industries in the country and contributes $4 billion to the country’s GDP. (Source: Ausactive)
This $4 billion, however, are not a direct contribution. The health and fitness industry contributes $1.52 billion directly to the national GDP, whereas its supply chain-related indirect impact adds $2.49 billion more to the GDP. The combined share in the GDP is thus more than $4 billion.
As you can imagine, such a colossal industry must also have a significant role in employment and activity. Again, as per the report mentioned above, the impact is direct and indirect.
The health and fitness industry creates more than 31,000 jobs directly and 26,000 jobs through its indirect effect. (Source: Global Deloitte Report)
The fitness industry in Australia is continuously growing, and fitness activities are taking new and reformed shapes. The industry is not just limited to weight training and gyms alone. Aussies are increasingly discovering an interest in Yoga and Pilates studios, dance, group classes, and many other such activities.
On the flip side, the report also highlighted the cost of inactivity to the Australian healthcare system.
Individual inactivity in Australia costs half the GDP amount generated by the fitness industry – a whopping $2 billion. And that is just in terms of the cost of healthcare expenditures.
The allied costs on productivity are even higher.
Every year Australia loses over 14 million working days in absenteeism and presenteeism from insufficiently active workers. And every such inactive worker costs $2,191 per year to the Australian economy.
I’m sure, with these stats, you can imagine the potential of the gym franchise business in Australia. To cater to Australians’ health and fitness needs, gyms and fitness-related businesses will likely continue growing.
The Australian Fitness Franchise industry has a plethora of options for you to chose from.
In this blog, we’ll answer all your question related to gym franchises in Australia and give you all the details of the top 15 gym franchises in Australia.
By the end of the blog, you should be able to make an informed decision by getting answer to questions like:
What are the top gym franchises in Australia?
How are the already existing franchises doing in the industry?
What is the scale and size of those gym franchises?
Which fitness franchise has the minimum investment cost?
Number of Franchises
$381,575 – $783,897 (Source: VettedBiz)
One of the world’s fastest-growing fitness chains tops our list. Anytime Fitness is a 24-hour health and fitness club founded in Minnesota, USA.
In Australia, the brand was launched in the town of Gunnedah, NSW, in 2008. After one and a half decades of doing business, the brand has spread to more than 500 branches across the country.
This growth makes it one of the biggest health club chains in Australia.
The club’s growth is not limited to Australia alone. Globally, the brand has expanded to more than 5000 clubs.
If these stats do not sound impressive, Anytime Fitness has some exciting numbers to show its rapid growth.
For example, as per the club’s official website, a new member joins an Anytime club every three minutes.
Now that’s some pretty neat data point, won’t you say? A club that is growing by the minute! It must be doing something, a lot of things, right?
But as you might wonder, this growth rate is not a mere claim but has been certified by the Franchise Council of Australia (FCA).
In 2018, FCA gave the brand “International Franchisor of the Year” award based on financial strength, stability, growth rate, and size.
One of the clever strategies of the brand is its ‘small club format’ that reimagines the small gym space.
The idea behind designing a smaller club is to have a reduced footprint and more ingenious configuration to optimise the experience for those that prefer smaller and cosier spaces for their fitness routine.
The club is open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
(Source: Official Website, Entrepreneur, Wikipedia)
Number of Franchises
$354,738 – $1,211,917 (Source: SnapFitness)
The second fitness club on the list is also a US-origin club. Peter Taunton founded the club in Chanhassen, Minnesota, US, in 2003.
The club was launched with the ambition to be an industry innovator.
Present in more than 20 countries, Snap Fitness has opened more than 1000 clubs and has a vast community of 1 million+ member. (Source: SnapFitness)
In Australia, Snap Fitness has more than 235 clubs spread throughout the country. Snap Fitness is part of a more outstanding fitness consortium that includes 9Round, YogaFit Studios, Insurgence, Steele Fitness, Kosama, and TRUMAV.
The club entered the Australian market in 2009 – Within six years of its original launch in the US.
One of the reasons for such a rapid brand expansion is its smooth onboarding and franchising system.
The club can be outfitted with equipment and opened within ten days of signing the lease. The whole franchise is mounted on an 18-wheeler, ready to be unpacked on any site on arrival.
Once your franchise is opened, its cost can break even at 275 members strength. Time-wise, it can be achieved within three months.
As you can see, Snap Fitness has truly stood to its name in this regard. That is why most franchise owners are, what the brand terms, ‘absentee owners’. Absentee owners are the ones who are running the gym as a side business. The majority of franchise owners, 60%, fall in this category.
Most of these absentee owners can run it as a side business because of the convenience of checking out their visit counts and revenue reports online. It is supported by the fact that the members enter gyms with their access cards. They can even access their club’s live footage remotely.
(Sources: Wikipedia, SnapFitness, Forbes)
EFM Health Clubs
Number of Franchises
Unley, South Australia
$120,000+ (Source: FranchiseDirect)
The third gym franchise on the list is EFM Health Club. Curiously named as an acronym, EFM has an interesting story behind its name.
But before coming to its name, let’s just talk about its inception and the specialities of its operations.
EFM Health Club is the first on our list, an Australian-origin club. The club was founded by Shane Redbone, an ex-SANFL and AFL footballer.
With over 65 outlets throughout the country, the club has won several awards for its exceptional services since it was founded in 1991.
The speciality of the EFM Health Clubs lies in corporate health and fitness programs for the employees of major Australian hospitals. Hence the name EFM, which stands for Executive Fitness Management.
Several years after its operations, the company realised that its name was probably not the best of choices. The name “Executive Fitness management” sounded rather confusing to the people and generated so many questions regarding the services offered by the club.
So, the club changed its name to its acronym, EFM Health Clubs.
EFM Health Clubs also specialises in running on-site fitness programs for schools. The club has more than 20 school programs being run nationwide.
One flagship program run for schools is called “Fit 2 Play”, which aims to fight childhood obesity through its special fitness sessions for kids needing help in this regard.
EFM provides free commercial-grade fitness equipment and specialised programs for students, staff, school alumni, parents, and the local school community through these programs.
The star feature of the club is a personalised and tailored program with an affordable membership scheme.
My First Gym
Number of Franchises
$250,000+ (Source: Company’s Official Website)
$20.7 million (Source: Zoominfo)
The next gym franchise on the list is quite unique.
My First Gym is a health and sports activity gym dedicated to kids of all ages. Yes. A novel concept indeed, but a successful one!
The idea of the gym was conceived and materialised by Dan and Eric Newton in Hawthorne, QLD, in 2017.
The couple thought of creating a “one-stop shop” for children’s fitness. As unique as the idea sounds, it became a leader in this particular niche.
The gym has state-of-the-art facilities for the kids and world-class programs to get the kids involved in fun and physically rewarding activities.
As you can imagine, being a kid-friendly space, it is also a family-friendly area where parents and guardians love to hang around.
The club brings a variety of innovative technologies and ideas to the child’s physical fitness. The key among them is MyMovementBuddy technology, which kids can wear in and outside class.
This wearable allows parents and kids to track their movement and reach goals in a structured way.
The real-time score for their activities keeps the kids fully involved in their progress. Not to mention the fun and competition it brings along with it.
The atmosphere and vibe at the club are one of the most energetic.
There are more than 70 classes conducted each week which include
- MFG Ninja Warrior
- Martial Arts
Another awe-inspiring feat of the club is its kid’s range. The club caters to kids aged seven months (yes, months, not years!) to 15 years old. So practically, no kid feels left behind at My First Gym. 🙂
The membership perks are equally inclusive. Kids can choose different classes each week with only one membership scheme.
Its MFG-FIt classes are the first functional group training class in Australia designed for kids aged 8 to 15.
The club also offers birthday parties, date nights, and holiday camps to add to the fun.
For its prospective franchisees, the club has undeniable potential for a commercial children’s fitness service.
The support from their head office includes ongoing training, staff development, and sales and marketing teams to ensure pre-sales programs. It has specialised training concentrated on the first 90 days of the opening and even beyond in many aspects.
(Source: Gym’s Official Website & blogs)
Number of Franchises
Sunshine Coast, Queensland
$550,000 – $700,000 (Source: ICSID)
$62.9 million (Source: Zoominfo)
The next gym franchise on the list is again a joint venture of a couple. Brendon and Cristy Levenson founded Jetts Fitness in 2007 on the Gold Coast, QLD.
The brand has the unique honour of being the first gym franchise in Australia to offer all-day access.
Not just that, but the gym also offered no lock-in contracts, low fees and members-friendly policies. In 2021, the club received the 13th Best Place to Work in Australia; in 2022, it received the 7th Best Place to Work in Australia. (Source: Startup Daily)
And success is not just a recent phenomenon.
Years ago, in 2012, the gym was announced by BRW as Australia’s #1 Fastest Growing Franchise. The award recognised the incredible revenue growth the brand garnered back then – a 403% increase from the last year and a turnover of $42 million.
Going beyond its industry, the brand was declared the 2nd fastest growing company in Australia. (Source: WRKPlus)
The gym was acquired by Quadrant Private Equity in 2016. The acquisition was channelled through its Fitness and Lifestyle Group in collaboration with other Australian-based gym franchises, including Fitness First, Goodlife Health Clubs and Hypoxi.
Jetts Fitness is not confined to Australia. It opened its first international club in New Zealand in 2010. The expansion continued afterwards, bringing the club’s franchises into many other countries, including Thailand, Netherlands, and the UK.
(Sources: Jetts Fitness, Wikipedia)
Genesis Health and Fitness Clubs
Number of Franchises
$289,500 – $446,000 (Source: FranchiseGrade)
$66.2 million (Source: Growjo)
Next gym franchise on the list is also an Australian-origin and 100% Australian owned health-club brand.
Genesis Health and Fitness Club first opened in 1997 in Ringwood, Victoria. The club’s unique strength is being the most profitable fitness club organisation.
In more than two and half decades of operation, the club has garnered more than 60,000 members and hundreds of highly trained staff.
One of the secrets behind their profitable business and high membership rate is their unique Genesis service and retention programs.
Genesis uses an unorthodox approach towards franchising. It operates through a mix of company-owned franchise clubs and joint venture operations, all operating under the franchise system.
But what purpose does this approach serve?
Well, it allows the brand to remain flexible in its approach to acquiring, facilitating and successfully operating clubs of any size and ownership choice.
To grade it as per the membership cost, it stands in the middle of the spectrum – neither cheap nor too costly.
But certain perks give the members personalised and premium treatment.
The new members are welcomed with free and personalised fitness consultation, personal training sessions and a complete training plan.
Once you get on that program, they check in with you every 12 weeks to keep you on track.
And like other quality gyms, they offer small group and nutrition training programs for an added cost under their ‘the coaching zone’ program. It is becoming increasingly popular among the members of the gym.
The gym is a 24/7, all-week open club.
Number of Franchises
$936,600 – $4,558,000 (Source: FranchiseHelp)
$224.4 million (Source: ClubIndusry)
Planet Fitness (PF) is a US-origin fitness club which was founded in 1992 in Dover, New Hampshire, USA.
PF did a revolutionary business model change to attract more members. The approach has been quite attention-grabbing and achieved both praise and criticism from different segments of society.
Starting, PF acted on the same gym model as the rest of the clubs in the US. A regular gym space that always attracted hard-core weightlifters who had somehow dedicated their lives to it.
And as per the gym’s calculation, it constituted only 10-15% of the general population. So, they sat down and tried to figure out why the rest of 80-85% of the people did not join the gym.
As per PF’s findings, the answer to that question was the shyness of the new or casual gym-goers. They hated the “look at me” attitudes and behaviours in typical gyms.
Another main reason was the cost of the membership. Many people do not want to pay huge sums of money for a membership they do not like to be a regular user of.
So, the brand acted on its findings and brought many changes in response to them.
They made their gym environment non-intimidating and affordable. They started calling their clubs “Judgement Free Zone”, meaning to be a welcoming and friendly community where people can feel comfortable regardless of their muscle size, body shape, or the level of activity they indulge in.
The club’s membership price cut was also drastically reduced to reduce competition with other health and fitness clubs.
PF is present in many countries, including the USA, Australia, Puerto Rico, Canada, Panama, and Mexico.
Number of Franchises
$304,500 and $2,129,500 (Source: Crunch)
$33.7 Million (Source: Zoominfo)
Next up is a gym franchise that was founded in 1989 in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of New York City.
The club had in its roots the ambition to welcome people of diverse groups.
Like our last entry on the list, Crunch Fitness also claims to be a “No Judgement” fitness club.
The club’s ‘no judgement philosophy’ aims to remove the intimidation factor from going to the gym and combine this model with entertainment and diverse offerings, keeping members inspired to work out.
The gym also sold logo merchandise to young upscale members to market their gym’s no judgement philosophy.
The gym’s franchise operation in Australia was started in 2007 by a couple in the heart of Sydney.
The couple has 45 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. Their passion for fitness activities is matchless; they call it “living with mana”.
And their “mana” certainly shows in the brand’s success.
As with every premium gym franchise, Crunch also has a set of fitness programs they advertise for fitness programs meeting the needs of various fitness enthusiasts.
One such program is Crunch 360 Transformation (360T) which combines eight weeks of programming designed to flexibility fit individual schedules.
The 360T includes scalability, a nutrition guide, Evolt body scanning, team support, and the option to add on personalised coaching.
And as far as tangible goals are concerned, the program offers specific fitness goals. Here are all the fitness goals the 360T program promises:
- Up to 5.2 kilos or more weight loss
- 100% strength gain
- 5 extra reps on the longevity test
- 75% increase in workout show rate
- 250% improved happiness
(Sources: CrunchAustralia, Wikipedia, CrunchUSA)
Orange Theory Fitness
Number of Franchises
Boca Raton, Florida
$488,405 – $994,360 (Source: TopFranchise)
$179.6 Million (Source: Zoominfo)
The next fitness club franchise on the list is quite a unique one.
Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) is a US-based boutique fitness studio franchised and headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida.
The club was founded by exercise physiologists Ellen Lathan, Jerome Kern, and David Long in 2010.
The club builds on its predecessor Pilates studio, called “Ellen’s Ultimate Workout”, founded by Latham in the late 1990s.
OFT’s success can be gauged from the fact that it was ranked #415 in Inc. magazine’s “Fastest-Growing Private Companies” list.
The brand also features among the “Franchise 500” of the Entrepreneur magazine.
What makes the fitness club unique is its high-intensity interval training, alternating between short periods of intense exercise and long recovery periods.
Their sessions are typically an hour long and are designed in a way to generate excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).
What in God’s name is EPOC, you must be asking.
Well, it is a physiological concept that occurs after an elevation in oxygen consumption as the body returns to its pre-exercise state.
To better serve their specific fitness regimen, the club’s studios are split into three stations:
- Water-resistant rowing machine
- Weight training
These sections are purpose-built. The members of the clubs attend these stations in a cycle through the entire duration of their one-hour session.
These workouts emphasise endurance, power or strength, or a combination of the three. These sessions are a group activity led by a coach.
OTF heavily incorporates technology in its operations. You can book your classes through the Orangetheory app, which displays the location, day, and time of open classes and which coach will be teaching.
Another defining feature of the club is the plethora of social involvement challenges it puts its members through. Such challenges include
- Transformation Challenge
- All Out Mayhem
- Hell Week
- Orange Voyage
- Catch Me If You Can
- Capture the Flag
- 12 Days of Fitness
These challenges offer members themed workouts and outfits such as t-shirts, hats, or socks for completing so many days of the challenge.
Number of Franchises
Sunshine Coast, QLD
$1,483,000 – $3,602,000 (Source: GoldGym)
$580.0 million (Source: Zippia)
Gold’s Gym is probably one of the most recognisable fitness brands included in the list.
The gym is also probably one of the oldest in this industry.
Gold’s Gym was founded in 1965 as a small gym in Venice, California.
It has now spread to 6 continents of the world, with more than 600 locations the world over.
But the gym’s first franchise in Australia in 2005.
It is interesting to note that the club calls its franchises “co-ed fitness centers” and not specifically a gym.
Being one of the oldest gyms it used homemade equipment and was dubbed “the Mecca of bodybuilding”.
Gold’s Gym boasts of its association with the legends of the bodybuilding world, like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dave Draper.
The gym has quite an interesting story behind its international fame.
By 1975, the gym was proving to be an almost failing operation and its founders decided to sell it to a regular gym visitor, Ken Sprague. turning it into an antique shop.
Sprague kept the gym running despite all odds. It turns out that Sprague had connections with the film industry. These connections allowed him to offer his gym as a primary studio for the filming of the movie Pumping Iron.
After the release of the film, Gold’s Gym rose to phenomenal success and by the 1979s became the world’s most famous gym.
Later, the gym was owned by Peter Grymkowski, a Mr World bodybuilding champion, and his partners.
Among its many firsts, Gold Gym was one of the first companies in the health and fitness industry to the franchise. Its franchising started back in 1980.
With more than 3 million plus members, the brand claims to be the number 1 full-service fitness franchise in the world. It is present in more than 29 countries and has more than 700 franchises.
Number of Franchises
Narellan, New South Wales
$350k to $550k* plus GST (Source: FranchiseBusiness)
$32.2 million (Source: Zoominfo)
Plus Fitness is an Australian-origin gym franchise founded by John Fuller. Fuller initially launched the first four franchises of the business being the sole owner of the club, but later
formed a partnership with Nigel Miller to run the future business together.
Although the gym started franchising in 2009, it soon realised the need to change the orthodox ‘big box gyms’ franchising model.
Their gym had to adopt a low-priced, convenient, and 24 hours access model to cut through the market competition.
The significant change to the franchising model adopted by the partners was to follow a low-staff model and an exclusive territory for each franchisee. The exclusive territory model had a dedicated aim of protecting the franchisees from future market saturation.
Along with these measures, the owners ensured that they developed a real turn-key franchise operation that offered a lucrative package to investors, including gym equipment, franchise training, and marketing support.
These specific measures aimed at making their franchising more lucrative for investors paid them real dividends, and their efforts finally made the gym a true ‘Australian Success Story’.
On the official launch of its 24/7 fitness club model at the Sydney Franchise Expo in 2011, the brand sold five franchises right ‘off the stand’ in three days.
So, as you can imagine, the gym’s franchising model is its real strength. The company’s website lays out eight steps process to own their franchise.
Plus Fitness is also big on using innovation and technology. The branch has a sophisticated app on both iOS and Android platforms. Through their apps, the brand offers virtual classes with their proprietary ‘Classes On Demand’ systems which provide 24/7 classes to the members.
Another unique strength this fitness club owns is its dedicated in-house media channel which can be streamed into each franchise with all the latest music and training tips from the brand ambassador, World Champion hurdler Sally Pearson.
(Sources: PlusFitness, Official Website)
Number of Franchises
$500,000+ (Source: FranchiseMall)
$54.9 million (Source: Zoominfo)
Another unique club in the list.
Fernwood Fitness is a women-only health and fitness club with a mission to ‘empower women to shine’.
Opened in 1989 in Bendigo by Diana Williams, Fernwood boasts a proud history of more than 40 years of successful experience.
The founder, Diana Williams, is a successful businesswoman, proud mother, and weightlifting champion.
Being a female-friendly fitness club, the gym has tailored its fitness routines to best suit its members’ needs. They have curated a fine balance of strength and weight training, cardio supported by state-of-the-art equipment, high-intensity exercise, and group fitness classes.
But these are not all the activities.
The club also offers FIIT30, Tai Chai, Zumba, yoga, Pilates, meditation, and mindfulness classes.
And as you would expect, being a women-dedicated fitness club, it also offers hair products, hair dryers, and straighteners in its equipment inventory. Most of their clubs do offer childcare services as well to let the moms cater to their fitness needs without having to worry about dropping their kids somewhere else or hiring a nanny for them.
(Sources: FernwoodFitness, StartupGrind)
Number of Franchises
Dapto, New South Wales
$200,000 to $250,000 (Source: FranchiseBusiness)
$3.5 million (Source: StepzFitness)
Stepz Fitness is a fitness club with a noble mission behind its business strategy.
The club aims to play its role in making “1 million Australians become healthier, fitter and happier.”
The brand markets its clubs as “24/7 boutique gym” franchises. While the 24/7 gym operation has almost become a necessity for the gym to do a decent business, Stepz Fitness tops it up with another one of its marketing slogans.
The Stepz Fitness clubs are advertised as a ‘non-intimidating’ gym that is open to all – whether you are 17 or 70 years old.
As with other gym brands, this club also has a unique business philosophy to make them stand out from the rest.
So, their strategy was to combine a tiered pricing model by incorporating Functional Group-Training and 24/7 gym facilities under one roof. The club claims to be a pioneer in this approach.
This approach, as per the club’s claims, has given them on average higher revenues than other successful clubs, but with half the members.
Quite an impressive feat, to be honest!
The club seems to be selling a lot of franchises based on this unique model which fills the gap between 24/7 gyms and boutique group training. This combination of F45-style functional training and 24/7 gyms is being marketed as the future of fitness.
And to support this claim, the company shows a yearly revenue that exceeds $3.5 million.
(Source: Company’s Official Website, Stepz)
Number of Franchises
$45,595 – $75,295 (Source: FranchiseHelp)
$20.4 million (Source: Zippia)
Well if it isn’t obvious from the name itself, the Curves is a women-dedicated health and fitness franchise; the second one in the category to make it on our list.
Curves’ business philosophy is to allow women their personal space in a women-only environment to pursue their fitness goals.
The workouts of the Curves combine strength, cardio, and stretching. But the interesting thing is that all these exercises are confined to a 30-minute workout session.
Almost as old as Fernwood Fitness (it is only 3 years younger), Curves is among the leaders in the women’s fitness business.
Curves boast a fitness impact affecting millions of women across the globe through their famous 30-minute sessions.
Catering to women’s needs, the gym also offers at-home workouts through their apps to the paid membership program.
In their clubs, the workouts are always led and supervised by a trained professional and you are given dedicated support throughout your fitness journey.
Their membership plans have a tiered regime that allows you to choose in-club or at-home membership with and without a coach to guide you.
(Sources: Curves, Fitness, CanStarBlue, WellnessLiving)
Vision Personal Training
Number of Franchises
Randwick, New South Wales
$250,000 – $350,000 (Source: VisionPersonalTraining)
$50.2 million (Source: Zoominfo)
Well, we couldn’t let you go with the last entry being a boring old plain gym like the average clubs out there. Not at all. In the same way as the rest of our list, this one also runs its franchise business in a unique way.
The Vision Personal Training takes a holistic approach to fitness. It is surrounded around all the elements of a fitness package, not just “fad” high-tempo and short-span exercises.
The four pillars of their holistic fitness approach include
Only by working and improving on all these four aspects, as per the brand’s philosophy, that one can really achieve long-lasting and rewarding fitness.
Well, that does sound convincing, doesn’t it?
If you are wondering, the man behind the philosophy is the founder and owner of the gym franchise, Andrew Simmons. Simmons has earned many titles in the fitness industry of Australia, one amongst them being voted as “National Personal Trainer of the Year” in 2003.
Being a ‘fitness-philospher’ (no pun intended) Simmons is also the author of two books on fitness and has sold thousands of copies of each book.
He is also passionate about decreasing the Type 2 Diabetes and obesity epidemics in Australia. In pursuit of this mission, he is providing passionate health and fitness professionals with long-term careers.
Their fitness philosophy also emphasizes the order of priority in following their four pillars of fitness.
All this talk of philosophy may sound dull and boring, but they do have a surprising twist to pique your interest.
If you really hone in on their philosophy and do mindfulness as guided and do your eating and exercises as guided, for 9 weeks and still do not achieve your fitness goals, guess what? They not only give you your money back, but they would also give you the rest of the guided sessions free until you reach your goal! They call it the Vision promise.
Well, at least I am sold on that promise. Are you?
Keep happy to lurk around our blog and check out other such lists bringing you the top franchise businesses in Australia in multiple industries. Or better yet, drop us your email id and we’ll bring it right to your inbox.
Happy Franchising with Lessons At Startup 😉
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