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Emerging Fitness & Wellness Franchises Find Success by Carving a Niche

Emerging Fitness & Wellness Franchises Find Success by Carving a Niche

Restore Hyper Wellness, MADabolic and Impulse Body Fitness are winning over consumers and franchisees by staying true to their missions
This article is part of ATN’s DISRUPT 2023 video series, which features key conversations with executives from the most successful brands in fitness and wellness. To watch more videos, click here

In a crowded fitness and wellness space, three new game-changing franchise operators are paving the way with unique offerings, rewriting the script on what it means to embrace health and well-being. 

Athletech News caught up with Brandon Cullen, co-founder and chief concept officer of MADabolic; Steve Welch, CEO and co-founder of Restore Hyper Wellness; and Sebastian Santos, chief operating officer and co-founder of Impulse Body Fitness, during the DISRUPT 2023 panel, “Franchise Disruptors: New Names in Fitness & Wellness.”

Poised to scale, read on to discover how this trifecta of innovators is driving consumer demand and attracting passionate franchisees along the way.

Restore Hyper Wellness Is Ready To Scale

Restore Hyper Wellness bet big on consumers turning to wellness modalities, seeing past trends of food and fitness. The franchise has laid the groundwork to prepare for the wave of consumers seeking recovery and longevity therapies.

“When I started this out, we had a pretty strong feeling that the consumer was moving in this direction,” said Welch. “And we were going to be there to build something big and scalable nationwide that could address consumers’ needs so they can live a longer, healthier life.”

credit: Restore Hyper Wellness

As Welch predicts a massive increase in market opportunity over the next four years, he says Restore is fortified as the market leader.

“We have almost an order of magnitude head start over everybody else,” he said. “We build out infrastructure that allows us to be a 50-state strategy. We are focused on executing and becoming a great franchisor.”

He also points to Restore’s financial partner, General Atlantic, who the franchise selected to be in it for the long haul, with a focus on true value creation.

“I think we are creating more value for our clients than any other brand I’ve seen in this country,” Welch said. “Our clients love us because they come in feeling one way, they leave feeling better, and they know that doesn’t just affect them today — that is going to affect them for many years to come, and that’s that’s a pretty powerful thing to be a part of.”

MADabolic Knows Its Niche

As fitness businesses clamor to provide ways for consumers to get fit and feel their best, MADabolic has identified the missing puzzle piece that’s long been overlooked. 

While the fitness franchise set out to provide high-level strength and conditioning to everyday people, Cullen says MADabolic has tapped into the high-achievers in the consumer segment, those that he says value structure and accountability. 

It’s a strategy Cullen believes the boutique fitness industry has neglected to address. He also says MADabolic’s tone has allowed it to stand out in the crowd as the first strength-driven interval training franchise.

“It’s popular to be the program for everybody today — and from a human side of things, I get the inclusive approach,” Cullen said. “I just don’t personally love it as a business model. I think it’s a very crowded space being the gym for everybody.”

Brandon Cullen (credit: MADabolic)

Carving out a space for the most dedicated of fitness consumers has paid off for MADabolic.

“I do think there’s a unique spot in the industry for the person looking for a little bit more,” Cullen said. “The high-achiever that likes to have that third space to sweat beside like-minded people, and they might not necessarily need a high five to get through their day. I just think there’s a nice opportunity to shoot to do something different.”

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As it scales, MADabolic is focused steadily on providing top quality over quantity, and is looking for franchisees who are willing to follow the game plan.

“Our ultimate goal is to isolate the top 50 markets in the United States based on not demographics, but psychographics,” Cullen said. “We’re not chasing 500, we’re not chasing 1,000 units. We want to land in markets and be known as a top training facility in (that) market.”

Impulse Body Fitness Targets Gym Haters

While MADabolic is serving serious fitness enthusiasts, Impulse Body Fitness is tackling the “fitness reluctant” through electrofitness. Clients wear a special electro-muscle-stimulation (EMS) suit that painlessly activates up to 300 muscles, burning up to 2,000 calories in a single session — ideal for those who aren’t interested in a traditional workout or are short on time.

“My main market is the other 81% of the people who try to start doing some type of exercise twice a year,” Santos said, referencing the majority of the population that doesn’t exercise regularly. “We offer a 25-minute workout with minimum effort which is provided by the suit.”

Sebastian Santos (credit: Impulse Body Fitness)

As Santos puts it, Impulse Body Fitness is chasing those who hate the gym, so the franchise doesn’t spend any energy pretending to be what it’s not. 

“Our approach to customers is to feel like we’re not a gym,” he said. “We’re a solution.” 

Since the innovative concept isn’t looking to compete in the crowded fitness club space, Santos is the first to admit that the fitness franchise doesn’t replace a gym. Instead, he explained that for some clients, Impulse Body Fitness actually complements their existing gym memberships. He also points out other positive benefits of EMS.

“EMS is coming from the medical field, and it’s being used for rehab,” he said. “So we can easily help people as a pain reliever system. There’s a bunch of other benefits besides calorie burn and toning muscles.”

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