In this Q&A, you’ll hear from Pete Hull, founder and managing partner of Fitstop, a functional strength and conditioning studio franchise. Pete details the Australian-born concept’s roots in recovery and explains why California is the perfect launch point for the brand’s expansion in America.
Can you introduce us to Fitstop?
Pete Hull: Fitstop is the home of functional fitness.
With roots beginning in Australia, I founded the company in 2013 with the intention of impacting as many lives as possible, giving everyday athletes the opportunity to join a community that gives back, gets stronger, and moves more to live a more fulfilled life.
I had always dreamt of being a motocross athlete and was on the brink of becoming pro when I got into two serious accidents. I was forced to give up chasing that dream but am forever grateful that it allowed me to put my passion and my purpose into another: Fitstop.
Along my rehab journey, I met a lot of amazing people in the fitness space and began studying fitness for myself. I had a really great trainer at the time who had devoted himself to my recovery — with no monetary reward in return, just out of passion and kindness of heart.
Seeing someone fully immersed in doing something they love led me to want to do the same. So, I started working with the athletes I knew, giving them fitness tips and training them out of my parents’ garage. This sparked the idea to open my own gym.
Not too much time later, my then-partner, now-wife Bec sold her Toyota Corolla for $18K, which bankrolled us into starting our own fitness business. Within six months, we went from 20 members to 130 members. In the first year, we made $70K in revenue.
After four years, during which time we opened one other gym, we decided to turn the brand into a franchise — which, today, is recognized as the fastest-growing fitness brand in all of Australia.
What’s the workout experience like?
PH: Fitstop combines its own proprietary technology stack with a focus on a world-class member experience.
Backed by science to optimize outcomes, our genuine team training sessions are 50 minutes long and present a fusion of four specific types of workouts, offered in progression, each week across the globe: Lift, Perform, Condition, and Sweat.
Fitstop—which has attracted fitness enthusiasts, former and current athletes, leading personal trainers, and prospective business owners—is also known for making a community impact.
From our Sweat for a Cause program designed to raise funds for important causes to engaging our community of everyday athletes in an inclusive environment, we live out our mission to impact as many lives as possible.
How are you approaching expansion?
PH: After starting in Australia, we began expansion focused on the Asian-Pacific region, launching into Singapore and New Zealand.
We’ve spent years finessing our formula, business model, and team in Australia. With that, there’s an eager desire to share the franchise globally.
We think there’s nothing like our unique training program that speaks to the athlete-driven mindset. It’s for those who thrive off of competing but are equally willing to offer a hand to support.
Why enter the US? Why now?
PH: We’re super excited to launch in the US, and we’ve designated our flagship location to be in Santa Monica because of the performance lifestyle already established here. We know there’s an eager desire for our product, and we see a great opportunity to fill the gap in fitness training philosophy.
The fitness culture in the US, and especially California, is synonymous with the growth we’ve had in Australia in the performance-based training experience. They enjoy an outdoor lifestyle and a love of fitness and sport, and there is a desire for fitness training that provides progression, strength, and conditioning among a like-minded community.
To start, we’ve honed in on two regions: the East Coast and the West Coast. We want to ensure the results speak for themselves and are very intentionally taking things one day as it comes.
We’ll see that these locations open strong, build a trusted brand presence, then continue to expand from there. Our goal is to open 10 US locations by the end of the year. But this thing will get huge. There’s no stopping us.
What trends in strength and performance are you seeing?
PH: It’s great to see strength and conditioning becoming more of a hot topic in the group fitness space — because that’s what we have always done and truly believe in.
What the market, and our fitness community, are starting to understand is that typical strength and conditioning paired with a dedicated program helps them seek the progression they’re looking for.
Gone are the days of smashing yourself or only thinking about calorie burn. Instead, people are taking a more balanced approach to fitness, one that consists of lifting weights, recovery days, and appropriate nutrition.
We need to nurture and look after our bodies instead of putting our bodies through undue stress. And that’s exactly how Fitstop was founded, as a strength and conditioning fitness brand, with a data-driven component that allows people to track their personal progress in real-time.
Anything else you’d like to share with readers?
PH: We’re a genuine, passionate fitness organization led by fitness professionals. We bring the Fitstop difference to life by partnering with owner-operators and semi-passive investors who share the passion and determination to drive a successful business.
Most of all, we partner with people eager to make a difference in their communities, members’ lives, and the Fitstop network — and, in turn, being financially rewarded in an extremely fulfilling business.
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