The Norwegian gym chain, HITIO Gym, has signed its first UK franchise agreement, as part of the company’s international expansion programme.
Combining a traditional gym and studio offering with combat sports training, HITIO was founded in 1998 by Per Christian Pedersen and Fredrik Bjertnæs and has grown to a network of 32 clubs across Norway.
The company explains that it has a distinctive format that aims to bring people together through physical activity by targeting a large customer base including families with children, who can exercise at the same time.
HITIO’s offering of martial arts-focused group classes, which include boxing, taekwondo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Thai boxing and HITIO Tiger, a programme for children aged five to seven years old, are aimed at developing focus, concentration, discipline and self-confidence through fun and motivating training.
The UK club will open in South London this summer by BGB Fitness, an investment group specialising in fitness facilities.
Matthew Blair, director of BGB Fitness, said: “We explored franchised fitness solutions in the past but until now didn’t find anything as unique as HITIO. The concept addresses a real gap in the market by targeting both adults and children.”
“This is something that we feel very strongly about and with child obesity an ever-increasing concern for the UK, HITIO gyms are a fantastic way of engaging families in health and fitness, by providing a real sense of community that is often missing from franchised gyms,” added Blair.
Mark Chambers, chief executive of HITIO, added: “We were really impressed by Matt and the BGB Fitness team; not only with the experience and expertise that they will bring, but their passion and enthusiasm for the HITIO concept was evident from the start and this is really important for us as we grow the brand.
“The fitness industry is booming and there’s nothing in the market that offers a concept like ours; with sites already confirmed in the UK, Spain and Portugal and with Sweden and Germany next in our sights, it’s a very exciting time to be a part of HITIO.”
HITIO says that as part of the extensive support provided to the franchise, all senior members of staff and instructors will also embark on a training programme led by HITIO’s central team in Oslo, in line with the brand’s commitment to maintaining its core values and delivering a community-led experience through each franchise.