In 2018, Franchise FastLane and The Exercise Coach were in similar positions as organizations. Both had some early success in their respective industries, and both were looking to make a huge run in the franchise space.
Their partnership marked just the third brand that FastLane represented, and this was the first time The Exercise Coach was coming out to the national franchise consultant community. Five years later, both companies have become the benchmark firms in their categories – FastLane as the largest FSO in the industry and The Exercise Coach as the largest personal training franchise in the nation!
In 2010, with just four locations open, Brian Cygan, co-founder and CEO, saw a massive opportunity in the fitness industry. The aging demographic of Baby Boomers was massively underrepresented in the fitness industry, and all the flashy new fitness franchise models were aimed at the already fit 20- to 30-year-olds.
Over 10 years in business taught him that the older clients paid more, stayed longer, and were less likely to shop around once they committed to his studio. Cygan had just secured a new weapon — Exerbotics, a high-tech line of strength-training equipment that allowed him to deliver a workout in 20 minutes that would surpass in effectiveness many 45-60-minute gym visits.
In the first six years as a franchise, he and a small team grew the chain from four to 40 units. When FastLane partnered with them in 2018, things started to take off! In just four years, two of which were during a major disruptive pandemic, the concept just recently opened its 160th studio in the U.S. This makes The Exercise Coach the largest personal training franchise concept in the country, and with 25 locations set to open in the rest of 2022, there is no slowing down in sight!
Powering this growth is the unique combination of a low-initial investment model with a higher ticket personal training offering, considerably lowering the number of members needed to reach financial success from other fitness franchises. A franchisee can operate in as little as 1,000 square feet and can choose between an office, medical office, retail or commercial space. Each Exercise Coach franchise is staffed with three to five employees, and there are no licensing or special requirements for these hires. The franchise fully certifies each of the franchisee’s coaches, meaning they can be hired for character and personality and trained in fitness delivery.
Marketing is turnkey. Franchisees can fully rely on the digital and print marketing that the franchisor provides to generate full lead flow to each location behind the scenes.
This eliminates the need for any cold-selling or door-knocking, making this a perfect model for franchise owners who want to manage a studio manager and be able to focus on client retention and operational systems.
Validation is off the charts as well! 2021 was the best year in the system’s history for store revenue and 2022 is on pace to break that record. The company is seeing incredibly strong launches, with three record-setting launches occurring in the last 12 months alone! Validation continues to get stronger, with dozens of franchisees opening their second and third units already in the last 12 months. Momentum is a funny thing… you either have it or you don’t.
The company's perseverance and dedication to world-class systems, support and its unique fitness offering and target audience proved a powerful combination to weather the storm and come out faster and stronger on the other side. Last July, The Exercise Coach hosted a five-candidate confirmation day and hosted an even a bigger one in August! The brand will easily award 50 total territories this year, bringing its total sold up over 300 units over the four years in the FastLane. It is also on pace to open unit 200 before the end of 2023.
"The Exercise Coach is a brand that is setting standards, not only in the personal training space but in the franchising space as well. The team behind The Exercise Coach has been the epitome of responsible growth, all while creating a culture built on integrity, hard work and success. We anticipate consistent and continued franchise growth of 50-plus franchise units a year. I am honored to be a part of the team that is changing the lives of so many franchisees and their clients across the country.”
- Jen Cain Sr. VP of Franchise Development at Franchise FastLane