“Our industry solves the problem of being lethargic and obese” | Global Franchise
Global Franchise
Logged out article
“Our industry solves the problem of being lethargic and obese”


“Our industry solves the problem of being lethargic and obese”

Bryce Henson, CEO of Fit Body Boot Camp, outlines the importance of this sweat-fuelled franchising sector

Bryce Henson started his career with Fit Body Boot Camp as a franchisee. This hands-on experience with running multiple locations of the fitness operation served him well as he rose the ranks; subsequently becoming VP of business development, before transitioning into CEO in mid-2021.

To learn more about the challenges of running a fitness space during the pandemic, as well as why this industry remains as resilient as ever, we caught up with Bryce on a recent episode of The Global Franchise Podcast.

KM: Fitness received the brunt of lockdowns and regulation during the pandemic – what would you say to an investor who’s apprehensive about entering this franchising space?

BH: The reality of the situation is that as we’re coming out of the pandemic, there’s a pent-up demand. Globally, the obesity pandemic is the biggest pandemic according to the WHO. Nearly three million people die per year because of obesity and its complications. If you look at COVID, the people that died most were those that had a compromised immune system, and unfortunately obese. There is a lot of data showing that health, wellness and fitness is the way to go.

Here in North America and specifically in the States, nearly 50 per cent of the U.S. population are obese. All of this is to say that we’ve gone through a very challenging time but the tides are changing and there’s certainly a huge need and pent-up demand.

We’ve awarded nearly 10 times the amount of franchise locations in 2021 than we did in 2020. We’re on the right path and I expect that to continue over 2022 onward.

KM: What kind of lessons did you learn from beginning as a franchisee of the brand?

BH: I would say it’s been pivotal for my success, the success of my locations, and also for the brand when I jumped into the CEO role in mid-2021. First and foremost, I’m a Fit Body client; I get in three workouts a week at my locations, and that provides incredible perspective. Without the ability to be a client in my gyms and see that from a client perspective, I certainly wouldn’t have the higher view that lets me lead my brand forward.

It’s been a huge advantage and I’ve been able to see the evolution of not only our business, but of the industry over the last decade. Having that dual look has benefitted myself, my team, and the wider brand.

There’s a good argument that entrepreneurs looking to scale their business should be working on the business, because those are the key levers in running a smooth and successful operation. But on the flipside, there’s still value to working in your business, meaning you have a daily understanding of the bottlenecks and issues that come up. You have better perspective on how to lead the organization at a higher level.

KM: Do you think that level of hands-on ownership is something all franchise CEOs should strive for?

BH: I strongly believe that’s the case. With that in mind, you have to take it with a caveat; if you’re a business leader and you’re looking to grow and scale as part of a franchise system, there’s a lot of value in working on the business because you need to be looking big picture to scale locations.

I don’t want to give the false impression that you need to be working in the business day-in, day-out, because then you’re missing the mark. I think a very strong blend of both is absolutely needed, and from a franchisor perspective and a business and entrepreneur perspective you have to have your eye on the big picture – you have to spend 15 to 20 per cent as a product of your product – so that you can make better decisions as evolution and challenges present themselves.

KM: Fitness franchising is a general term to describe a very nuanced industry. Which segment of the sector will reign supreme in 2022?

BH: Big picture: there’s a big need. The global obesity pandemic is top of mind, and any business has to solve a problem. Our industry solves the problem of being lethargic and obese.

There’s a huge need for all types of fitness, because the problem is so great. But to answer your question: what I see, and the trend that will continue, is that big-box concepts will have a hard time. They’re losing market share week in, week out. And the reason that is, is that at a foundational level, fitness is simple.

It’s not easy, but it’s simple. And if you follow a strong workout program, get into the gym at least three times, and clean up your hydration, you can create a big impact. The problem is the coaching and accountability, which is why boutique fitness is really strong at community and relationship building, and at coaching.

Everyone knows what you need to do at a foundational level. Most humans know that if you put away the cheeseburger and pick up a salad and vegetables, you’ll improve. But there’s a delta in getting your client to do that, and as we’ve seen over the past decade as boutique fitness has exploded, that trend will continue. That’s because of the coaching and accountability, but most importantly, because of the results that we provide.

The Global Franchise Podcast

This interview is an excerpt taken from our conversation with Bryce as part of The Global Franchise Podcast. To listen to this interview, as well as many more with franchising professionals, visit global-franchise.com/podcast.

Start making informed business decisions. Join Global Franchise Pro for free today.

Latest trends and investment opportunities

Unlimited access to industry news and insight

Exclusive market reports and expert interviews