With New President, BFT Eyes Massive Growth in North America

Duncan Cork, a franchising expert and one of the execs behind F45’s rapid expansion in the US, will look to turn BFT into a household name in North America’s boutique fitness scene

Xponential Fitness has been clear about its intentions to leverage Body Fit Training’s global presence and turn it into a household name in North America. It’s now kicking those plans into high gear. 

Xponential acquired the Australia-founded group strength and conditioning franchise in late 2021, and opened 30 studios in North America last year alone. 

There’s some sense, though, that Xponential is just getting started on its quest to turn Body Fit Training (BFT) into a boutique fitness power.

In early April, Xponential named franchising expert Duncan Cork as BFT’s new president. In addition to his background as a successful entrepreneur, Cork served as CMO of F45 Training, then later President and Chief Growth Officer until 2021, playing a key role in driving the Australian fitness brand’s explosive growth across the U.S.

Cork will now look to do the same for BFT, which he calls the world’s “preeminent strength and conditioning group fitness” brand.

The Magic of Group Strength & Conditioning

While Cork sees similarities between BFT and boutique fitness concepts such as F45, he believes BFT is uniquely positioned for long-term success due to its fresh take on strength training, which was named the most popular fitness modality of 2024.

“We get the comparisons quite often, but BFT truly sits in a unique space within the boutique fitness world,” Cork says. “The workout is not as intimidating and more accessible than a CrossFit WOD (Workout of the Day). And with the strength and conditioning classes being rooted in the science of progressive programming, BFT supports members through their fitness journey far more than the average HIIT or weight-based classes.”

Duncan Cork (credit: Xponential Fitness)

BFT offers group strength and conditioning classes led by expert coaches and split into eight-week training blocks so members can measure their progress over time. Classes include some combination of compound weight lifting exercises like deadlifts, bench presses and kettlebell swings, bodyweight movements like box jumps and pull-ups, and cardio work including running, cycling and rowing. BFT also leverages heart-rate tracking tech to inform members of their progress, gamify workouts, and build customer retention.

“It’s an incredible workout program,” Cork says. “Understanding that you can have a progressive strength and conditioning workout with that much consideration and thought behind it makes a big difference to your personal fitness journey.” 

Since BFT combines strength training with conditioning, it helps members build muscle, lose fat and generally improve their overall health. For many members, BFT serves as their primary workout, which leads to high average attendance numbers. 

“We’re averaging 4.5 to 4.8 visits per week (per member), which is extremely high for a boutique fitness brand,” Cork notes. 

On the ‘Cusp of Blowing Up’

Leaning on his marketing background, Cork says his first task as president will be to “build a clear message about what the BFT stands for.”

“BFT is a new brand here in the United States, so my biggest priority is getting the message out there,” he shares. “We have to arm our franchisees with materials so they can go out into their communities and speak to the benefits of BFT.”

For prospective franchise owners, BFT presents a unique opportunity to get in on the ground level of a brand that’s just starting to grow in North America but that already has an established presence across the globe. BFT is a hit in its native Australia, and the brand has locations in nine total countries, including Singapore, Hong Kong, the U.K. and Spain, where it recently opened its 300th studio, in Barcelona.

“I’ve seen this kind of growth before,” Cork says, recalling his time at F45. “This is an opportunity to get involved with a brand that’s right on the cusp of blowing up in the United States.”

credit: Xponential Fitness

BFT franchisees also get the benefit of joining Xponential, which Cork calls “a juggernaut of boutique fitness, health and wellness” with 10 brands and over 3,000 studios across the globe. 

“Having the support structure that Xponential provides our franchisees, plus being a growth brand, is a really exciting combination,” Cork says. 

Under Cork, BFT will target franchisees from diverse backgrounds, including groups looking to own many units and build a portfolio as well as individuals who are looking to start and grow their own small business

“We like to find professional franchisees who understand how to build great teams,” Cork explains.“We also like to find those who are passionate about fitness and want to own and potentially grow their own portfolio.” 

BFT Will Think Globally

Looking ahead, Cork is confident BFT is just scratching the surface of what it can become in North America and across the globe. 

“In North America, I could imagine us opening hundreds of stores relatively quickly,” he says. “The consumer demand for the workout is strong, my focus will be on working closely with our franchise partners throughout their journey and empowering my team to continue to provide exceptional support.”

Cork is also quick to note that BFT is an international brand. He believes BFT could grow to more than 1,000 global locations, which would surpass the lofty goal founder Cameron Falloon set for the strength and conditioning brand when he established it back in 2017.

“We’re going to act as the global brand that we already are,” Cork says. “That’s a big part of my growth vision for the company.”

The post With New President, BFT Eyes Massive Growth in North America appeared first on Athletech News.


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