Bringing mass market appeal to the personal training sector

With the backing of an award-winning franchise group, énergie Personal Fitness is seeking to establish a national network of professional and customer-friendly studios in a market populated by one-man bands

A market predominantly served by one-man band operations, personal fitness training has been identified as an area with huge growth potential by national health and fitness club company énergie Group. Estimating the sector's worth at £4 billion per annum with a six per cent growth forecast in 2008, énergie Group last year launched its énergie Personal Fitness franchise and is seeking either personal fitness trainers looking to build a business rather than work a job, or management professionals recognising the market potential offered by the personal fitness studio market.

A finalist of the British Franchise Association's Franchisor of the Year awards in 2005, the group's énergie Fitness Clubs franchise has over 100 franchisees in operation. The group has applied its extensive knowledge of the industry and of franchising to launch énergie Personal Fitness to extend its coverage of the health and fitness market. 'énergie Personal Fitness is the first franchise launched in the UK specifically opening professional personal training studios,' says the franchise's CEO Darran Morford. 'Most personal trainers have a lack of business knowledge and simply operate by being paid for their time and effort. énergie Personal Fitness is a professional business which makes the leap from one-man band to thriving business.'

The énergie Group has seven fitness divisions of which, énergie Personal Fitness is currently supporting the launch of its first two franchisees (see Franchisee Diary, above) and is seeking suitable candidates to continue its momentum. 'We have established systems, architecture, sales and marketing strategies and a recognised name in the health and fitness industry,' says Darran. 'Franchisees enjoy the full backing of the énergie Group, with comprehensive support which includes management and finance training, site selection assistance and legal support advice. We also provide training on all the products that we deliver and full training for franchisees' studio staff.'

The énergie Personal Fitness franchise is based around building up a number of income streams to sustain a growing business. Rather than taking the traditional route of selling memberships, énergie Personal Fitness provides its customers with self-contained products with specific guaranteed results. Darran explains: 'Our products are health and fitness programmes which are tailored to achieve a specific result, such as inch loss. We operate programmes that target four areas: an active physical programme, nutritional advice, education in how the programme achieves success and measurement of progress. By offering more that just an hourly personal training service we can transform our customers' lives and guarantee them results.'

énergie Personal Fitness focuses on recruiting individuals with ambitions to operate multiple studios, which means the business is suitable for people who aren't necessarily registered personal trainers. 'We are looking to support franchisees in growing their business to two or three studios, but we are also prepared to award territorial or regional franchises for those with the resources to develop a larger chain,' says Darran. 'The credit crunch is impacting on people's spending habits, but we aren't seeing that being replicated in the fitness world. The trend in the UK towards a healthier, fitter lifestyle continues, and we're taking personal training outside the club and building national studios with more mass market appeal. In the next year we hope to have at least 10 more studios up and running and a further 20 franchisees preparing to launch.'

Reported by Stuart Anderson