5 fired-up functional fitness franchises

By Sarah Stowe | 11 Nov 2019 View comments

For years, the franchising industry has been dominated by fast-food and fitness, and for good reason. Both are established industries with an easy to understand consumer-focused model. The boutique nature of fitness however, has seen an emerging number of innovative models hit the scene, with functional fitness franchises leading the charge.

The term functional fitness refers the style of training involved. According to Women’s Health, “functional fitness is about preparing you for life, rather than something specific like a big race or a lifting competition.”

Over the past five years, functional fitness franchises have exploded in popularity, due to their full-body, convenient offerings. The ability to perform a dedicated, high-octane workout in under an hour allows functional fitness franchises to cater to a wide audience, from stay at home mums to office workers on their lunch breaks.

So, which chains are doing the heavy lifting? Check out this list of five functional fitness franchises on offer in Australia.


Brisbane-born business Fitstop Australia is one of the fastest growing functional fitness franchises in the country.

You’ll need a Cert III in fitness and some industry experience to invest in this business, which is now five years old with two years of franchising under its belt.

As it expands along the east coast of Australia, the brand offers support in negotiating sites, planning and design, and fitting out the gym. Fitness teams and new owners undertake a 10-week induction process.

Fitness programs incorporate high intensity training with slow and progressive strength training; the programs are supported by an online nutrition portal to give members the ability to maximise results.

Orangetheory Fitness

It’s a fast-growing fitness brand that prides itself on not one closure among the 1200 locations opened around the world over the past nine years.

The fitness model is all about cardio burn; it harnesses scientific theories about post-exercise oxygen consumption and combines this with heart-rate monitoring to keep members in the target zone.

For franchisees, the brand promotes low overheads and fixed expenses with high margins.

Orangetheory Fitness originates in the US and is part of the Collective Wellness Group in Australia.

Coaching Zone

Coaching Zone provides 45-minute group personal training sessions for the beginner through to the advanced. Each class incorporates the latest techniques and MyZone heart rate technology. Developed by Belgravia Health and Fitness, Coaching Zone gets input from renowned fitness experts such as Commando Steve.

The network of more than 35 franchisees benefit from the knowledge and experience of the parent company as well as specialised programming and technology, accounting, corporate services and marketing, and take advantage of links with local council and aquatic centres managed under the Belgravia Leisure business.

The HIIT Factory

High intensity interval training is common as a class in many gyms but the HIIT Factory has embraced the 30-minute sessions as a business purpose.

Another Australian-born business, it now numbers seven studios in Melbourne and Western Australia. Enthusiastic trainers drive the family-friendly sessions (kids are encouraged to watch and be inspired).

Ideal franchisees are already experienced in the field, with a fitness Cert III or IV, their own venue and client base.


If it’s good enough for Mark Wahlberg, is it good enough for you? The Hollywood A-lister’s investment group in early 2019 took a minority stake in this high-profile fitness business that has an American persona but is in fact an Australian concept.

F45 is a 45-minute, station-based, functional and cardio training concept developed in 2013. The brand that kick-started the functional training trend now has more than 1500 studios across 40 countries, and was listed in Entrepreneur’s Fastest-Growing Franchises of 2019.

Functional fitness franchises

Whether you are a passionate personal trainer or an amateur fitness fanatic, owning a gym can be a fruitful venture.

However, the rising boutique nature of the industry has seen more consumers shy away from the big-box offerings. Understanding the market trends and consumer demographics of your proposed area will dictate what model will best suit.

Functional fitness franchises have the benefit of worldwide appeal and a reputation for results. Do your research and determine if your franchise future is on the gym floor.