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Meet Chris: franchisee at Body Fit Training (BFT) Croydon

Meet Chris: franchisee at Body Fit Training (BFT) Croydon

The Croydon franchisee decided to combine his love fitness and background in entrepreneurship to invest in a BFT branch

Chris Pook, franchisee at Body Fit Training (BFT) Croydon has opened up about his decision to invest in the fitness brand.

Key factors were the idea of creating a fitness community in his local area of Croydon, while also using the franchise business model to create better work life balance – something that has enabled him to spend time with his spouse, and four children.

“With more than 10 years of experience in the franchising industry, I found myself seeking a fresh challenge, something that truly spoke to my passions,” says Chris. “The idea of blending my enthusiasm for fitness with my deep appreciation for franchising sparked a sense of excitement in me, leading me to BFT. 

“The BFT tagline Different. Better. truly struck a chord with me. I wasn’t looking for just another gym focused on volume over value. My goal was to create a space where community and connection are at the forefront - a place that feels like a second home to its members. 

Choosing to locate my first studio in the Croydon area wasn’t just a business decision… it was a personal one. That’s where I was born and I look forward to the positive impact it can have on my community.”

Launching the franchise

The BFT franchise has been aggressively expanding worldwide; it now has more than 62,000 members and 300+ studios globally.

As a brand, it has focused on carving out a unique selling point around 50-minute functional training and strength-based programmes, which include 14 workout variations. 

“Having run my own food catering franchise for over a decade, I’ve built up an in-depth understanding of franchising,” says Chris. “I thought I’d experienced good franchisor-franchisee relationships in the past but BFT is on another level - they’ve been brilliant. 

“I flew to Australia to do my franchise training and meeting all the head office team was great. It’s easy to see why the brand has built up over 300 studios - the passion and enthusiasm for the business is infectious.” 

All franchisees attend training in Melbourne, Australia – the BFT’s founding country. This initiative aims to equip those who invest with the knowledge and skills necessary to launch their studio successfully. 

Franchisees are also assigned a Regional Franchise Manager (RFM) who acts as a dedicated guide in navigating a studio launch, from the initial setup to the grand opening.

“My skillset has always been more suited to running my own business. I like surrounding myself with a good team, but ultimately the last decision is mine,” says Chris.

“Franchising is the perfect balance for me; you’re not starting from scratch. It’s a proven model and you have that support from head office, but you still have to put the work in to get results and that gives me great job satisfaction. 

“I used to work in the tech industry, but when I was made redundant, I wanted to do something for myself, and I started looking into franchising. I’ve run a food franchise for 11 years now, and while I’ve enjoyed that and it remains a successful business, my passion is fitness. That’s ultimately what led me to BFT - I knew it was time to look for a new challenge.

An Australian brand and a new UK competitor

“The fact that BFT is fairly new to the UK market is actually one of the main reasons the brand appealed to me. I’m confident in the model’s success, evidenced by its over 300 studios globally, but the scope for expansion in the UK is an exciting opportunity for me. I have plans to open multiple studios; ideally, I’ll open a new studio every 12-15 months. I’m not setting myself any limits at the moment; Croydon is the beginning, but I’ll build from there.” 

Return on invest is currently estimated to be achieved within 18 months of launching a BFT franchise, and those interested will need a minimum of £80,000 in investment.

“My work-life balance is important to me. When I’m at work, I work hard and that’s my focus but once I’m done, I’m not checking emails and my phone is off. BFT gives me the flexibility that I need,” says Chris. 

“I’ve got four children, including twins who will be one in May. It’s a busy household, to say the least! If I’m looking far into the future, I’d like to see my children involved with the business as well. I’ll be encouraging all my children to get outdoors and to stay active. I think it’s so important. If we can make BFT a family venture, that would be amazing. 

“For anyone considering a BFT franchise, I wholeheartedly encourage you to pursue it. With over a decade of experience in the franchising sector, I’ve gained a deep understanding of what makes a franchise opportunity stand out. 

“BFT has truly impressed me. I suggest attending a session or speaking with the franchise team. You’ll quickly see the qualities that set BFT apart. It’s a decision you won’t regret.”

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