2022 is the perfect time to start your gym franchise

2022 is the perfect time to start your gym franchise

This is the time of year when Malaysians would ordinarily be spiking memberships at their local gyms, and replacing the carbs in their kitchens with quinoa.

As 2022 kicks off, it seems that one more casualty of the coronavirus pandemic is the New Year’s fitness resolution. Omicron is here at the worst time, and anxiety about mingling with strangers – especially while sweating profusely – is high. Morale is dwindling as Covid-19 cases continue rising, giving the fitness and workout franchises another seemingly uncertain year ahead. That is unless, you can recognize the potential it actually has.

How Covid-19 Permanently Changed the Fitness Industry

Malaysians spend millions every year on fitness and a large portion of this is spend on gym memberships, personal training, fitness classes and bootcamps. Even though the fitness sector has the lowest on-site transmission rates, they faced among the strictest standard operating procedures.

Fitness centres, in theory, should be seen as part of the health sector as they help prevent and manage diseases such as obesity and heart diseases, which did not stop existing while the focus is on Covid-19 pandemic management.

Many of the public are still cooped up at home or had to risk a Covid-19 exposure to access their regular gyms. This brings a shift to virtual workouts and outdoor activities.

Virtual class options are turbocharged by the
pandemic, and gym chain executives expect that
to continue.

Thus, these gym franchises are having to adapt to effective online options as fast as possible while still finding ways to maintain the energy and motivation their members want from an inperson class.


Many are turning to online options instead of heading to their usual gyms.
Source: True Fitness

The Impact of MCO 1.0 Closures on Fitness Franchises Laid Bare in Survey Results 

The following are results of a survey conducted by the Malaysian Fitness Coalition.

Between 2020 and 2021, starting from MCO 1.0, the industry faced an estimated revenue loss of more than RM110 million. The data was obtained from 254 owners of boutique fitness, yoga studios, mixed martial arts studios, CrossFit gyms, multinational chain operators, franchise owners, individual personal training studios and climbing gyms, among others, from 11 states as well as Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.


Millions have been spent on thorough cleaning to protect members from contracting the virus.
Source: True Fitness

Gym and fitness operators also collectively spent more than RM4.5 million on sanitation.

Based on the survey, 87% of participants have seen their employees’ monthly income decline, where half said that incomes have dropped by more than 40%. On top of that, 30% of their staff has been laid off between MCO 2.0 and MCO 3.0.

Luckily, gyms are now open for vaccinated adults
and things are starting to look up for this industry.

Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Start a Gym Franchise

So, you have just seen grim statistics from the industry, so why are we saying there has never been a better time to start a gym franchise? 

Realistic data never hurt anyone, it was to help you understand what the industry has lost and to see where potential can be found to bounce back. Taking advantage of knowledge and finding the right opportunity and timing for starting a franchise business is key. All industries go through cycles, and after a big dip, there usually is an even greater rebound.

We already see an undeniably soaring demand and interest in health, fitness, and weight loss more than ever.

Many have started to realise they gained extra lockdown lumps and bumps from being couch potatoes through the MCOs and want to reset their health as they ease back into normality. Plus, consumption of social media is only ever increasing and are now more educated about health and more motivated by fitness culture.


Much of the interest in obtaining a fit physique now comes from social media instead of TVs and magazines

Fitness and maintenance of good physique is a factor that will never go out of fashion.

The global pandemic also placed fitness and health into many people’s priorities. We see a long-term demographic shift who now go for fitness and wellness. People started to understand the importance of being fit when faced with a virus that was shown to have more of an impact on people in poor health and those who had weaker immune systems.

Coronavirus will never go away, and this means that it is likely that many people will want improve their health and fitness in order to give themselves with as much individual protection as possible.

Benefits of a Gym Franchise

Franchising in Malaysia one of the most effective ways of starting a business, as Malaysians tend to be brand aware. Here are some reasons why starting a gym franchise in the current market can be a great business idea.

Firstly, a good franchise chain will give you the support and knowledge you need to get you started quickly. You will receive guidance through the planning stages to helping you with property purchases, operational support, and ongoing marketing. Franchising offer business information that would take a long time for you to gather through experience yourself.

Secondly, a fitness franchise can hit the ground running in a way that independent businesses may not be able to offer. Gym franchises can rely on company reputation, a recognisable brand name and expert marketing to ensure that your gym franchise has a healthy membership pool even before you open the doors.

Thirdly, you can enjoy a dependable revenue stream as many gym members pay in advance for their gym memberships. Gyms go through peak times and off times cyclically, so you already know which months you can expect to prepare more staff and which months you can let the gas pedal off a little bit. Plus, members often sign up with friends or family so you can always expect word-of-mouth to help membership numbers increase organically.


People join gyms for the sense of community and will often ask friends or family to join them too.

Fourthly, investors are typically attracted to sectors with business models like gym franchises, where there is a very reliable monthly income. Unlike other businesses, it has an opposite trend, where we depend on the fact that customers do not use the equipment as often as they had initially told themselves they would.

Fifthly, many gyms, both small and big, have closed down and do not intend to reopen again. This will leave holes in the market that other gym providers like you can fulfil. If your gym offers a closer distance to customers’ homes compared to your competitors, it might very well be the only reason most people need to choose you.

Sixthly, a gym is more than just a business, but a public service. The reason why people join gyms is for the community, and if you happen to be a fitness enthusiast yourself, you will be able to put more of your own personality in and in turn, “humanise” your business. This is what people want – to feel like they have friends at a familiar place where they are welcomed and recognized. Many of the most successful gyms are started by retired sportsmen, coaches, or actively competitive athletes.

Seventhly, the public are now immensely more accepting of embracing technology into their everyday lives, which opens up so much more opportunities for your business to make money beyond gym membership fees. Fitness apps, home-equipment, smart gadgets, fitness trackers, online one-to-one training, access to archived classes and much more are only a fraction of the ways you can utilise technology to increase earnings.

Finally, there’s only a small percentage of the Malaysian population have gym memberships. According to Statista, only 1 in 4 Malaysians have a fitness studio of gym membership, leaving another 75% of room to grow into.


People are starting to see fitness membership as not just for the elites, but for all social classes, opening
up plenty more opportunities for market growth.

What You Must Expect Going In

Covid-19 has accelerated adoption of a hybrid model of online and in-person workouts that you must be ready to embrace in your new gym. Virtual workouts are the definite future of fitness.

People now see the value in both, and so by offering them options, be it through livestreamed classes, fitness tracking apps, active social media group pages, and routine fitness challenges, you must find ways to be technologically adept to be ahead of your competitors. And if you’re extra optimistic about the tech-driven future of fitness, why not consider venturing into fitness in the Metaverse?


Fitness using VR is no longer the future, it is here and it is becoming increasingly affordable and accessible to all.
Source: Old Town White Coffee

Unsure where to start as a franchisee? Have a chat with us iPeople who can answer your questions directly and accurately without having to read pages and pages on Google. Talk to a us to get experienced advice on franchise business opportunities in Malaysia.