The Functional Training Franchise is Positioned for Nationwide Expansion
You don’t have to go Down Under to join the boutique fitness brand Body Fit Training (BFT) anymore. The Australian group strength training brand is spreading across the U.S. thanks to fitness franchise giant Xponential Fitness. The publicly-traded parent company is known for its niche, community-based franchise brands, and BFT fits beautifully into its portfolio. “None of our brands compete with each other,” says Lou DeFrancisco, president of BFT.
Short for Body Fit Training, BFT brings a new modality to Xponential’s umbrella. The Xponential leadership team spent a lot of time with BFT’s founders, Richard Burnet and Cameron Falloon, and they liked their vision and experience. Before launching BFT, Falloon was a high-performance trainer who worked with Australian Football League (AFL) and soccer teams, and Burnet was an executive with the AFL. They ran the entire BFT operation and grew it to more than 130 locations in Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore before Xponential acquired the brand in October 2021. Burnet and Falloon have stayed on as area developers in Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. and Singapore.
BFT and Xponential
With the addition of BFT, Xponential now has ten fitness brands within its portfolio. Xponential typically invests in brands with a lot of “whitespace” and BFT presented a unique opportunity. “While BFT was proven and established in Australia, there was wide-open territory in the U.S.,” DeFrancisco says. Xponential launched the U.S. franchise opportunity in February 2022 with a vision to bring the benefits of strength training to the masses. “BFT is not just for elite athletes. It can benefit everyone,” DeFrancisco says.
Xponential’s other nine include Club Pilates, CycleBar, StretchLab, Row House, AKT, YogaSix, Pure Barre, STRIDE Fitness, and Rumble. All of the Xponential brands are community-based and offer a unique niche. Combined, they make up more than 2,350 studios globally.
Just like Xponential’s nine other brands, BFT offers a community-based workout and a streamlined, simple business model. With all the brands under one roof, franchise owners enjoy many unique benefits, including the XPASS, which lets members from any Xponential brand work out at other locations.
The BFT Workout
BFT members are attracted to the workout, but keep coming back for the inclusive atmosphere. “BFT offers a sense of community that creates customer stickiness. Members stay for the long-term because they enjoy the experience and get results,” DeFrancisco says.
Technology also keeps members engaged. BFT uses a proprietary heart rate monitor with a points-based system. It awards points based on following the heart rates prescribed for the specific classes. Members get a report via a mobile app after every class and are incentivized by gold, silver, and bronze awards that appear after every class.
The BFT workout leverages the recent resurgence in strength training. “People have become more aware of its many benefits, which include building lean muscle, preventing injury and, of course, looking and feeling good,” he says.
DeFrancisco is quick to point out that although BFT offers a hardcore workout, it’s not at all an intimidating, muscle-head type of gym. “This is not for ‘Arnold.’ We cater to many types of clients including youth and college athletes, weekend warriors who want to improve their tennis or golf games, and anyone who wants to look and feel better and engage in a challenging workout,” he says. While the average customer is between 30-45 years old, BFT also caters to people who are in their 50s, 60s, and older. “As we age, we lose bone density and this type of workout prevents that,” he says.
The BFT Franchise Opportunity
As someone who appreciates the benefits of strength training, DeFrancisco is happy to lead the brand as president since it aligns with his interests. “My wife and I are very active and regularly do strength training workouts. I am so excited that it’s now part of my work,” he says. DeFrancisco is looking for the same type of enthusiasm from franchise owners. “Even though this is a semi-absentee model, we want to see passion from our franchise partners,” he says.
Most investors start with three units, and their experience from the first opening makes the transition to the second and third locations much smoother. “Our franchise partners get better with each location,” says DeFrancisco. “And we provide tons of support every step of the way.”
The first two U.S. BFT franchisees are owners of other Xponential brands, but DeFrancisco says there is interest from investors everywhere. For more information about the BFT franchise, visit www.bodyfittraining.com/franchise.