15 Most Successful Gyms in Europe

Vicki Morillo
17 min read
Some additional information in one line

Gym franchises across Europe are thriving, providing entrepreneurs in the fitness industry with opportunities to leverage established brands and proven business models. The advantage of operating under a renowned name extends beyond brand recognition; it encompasses access to effective operational practices and marketing strategies tailored for success.

Starting a gym through a franchise minimizes the risks typically associated with launching a business independently. Entrepreneurs gain immediate access to a support network, enjoy stronger negotiating power with suppliers, and can tap into a wealth of industry knowledge to streamline their operations. 

This often results in quicker profitability compared to independent gyms.

The fitness landscape is competitive, but gym franchises consistently demonstrate an ability to outperform their independent counterparts. Their established brand presence and tried-and-tested operational strategies provide a solid foundation for business growth and profitability.

Investing in a gym franchise presents a strategic and potentially lucrative option for those aiming to make a mark in the fitness industry.

As we explore 15 of Europe's most successful gym franchises, it becomes clear how these businesses have managed to thrive and expand, setting industry standards and providing valuable insights for gym owners, personal fitness trainers, and potential investors.

1. Basic-Fit

With its headquarters in the Netherlands, Basic-Fit has swiftly climbed to become one of Europe's largest fitness chains, mainly spreading across the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, and Spain. The simplicity of its mission, making fitness accessible to everyone, has resonated well with individuals across different demographics, positioning Basic-Fit as a budget-friendly yet high-quality fitness solution.

Membership Cost: Starting at €19.99 per month, Basic-Fit provides an affordable fitness solution with various membership options to cater to customer needs, including off-peak memberships, premium memberships, and day passes.

Amenities: While the specific amenities may vary from one location to another, Basic-Fit clubs are well-equipped with modern gym equipment, and the company's app provides a virtual coach, live group lessons, and over 200 virtual lessons to keep members engaged, even outside the gym.

What makes Basic-Fit successful?

Basic-Fit's triumph stems from its broad network, predominantly in France, boasting over 1,000 clubs by 2021. Despite hurdles like the COVID-19 pandemic, the brand witnessed a steady revenue ascent, with €515 million recorded in 2019, signaling a solid market stance and a viable business framework.

Technology innovation significantly contributes to Basic-Fit's success. The brand's app, featuring a virtual coach and live group sessions, is pivotal in retaining member engagement and promoting consistent fitness routines. 

Effective marketing endeavors, community outreach, and strategic alliances have enabled Basic-Fit to establish a strong brand identity that appeals to its designated audience.

A high standard of service and superior customer experience are paramount for Basic-Fit. This is achieved through pristine, well-furnished facilities and ongoing investment in staff development.

Strategic collaborations with other entities in the health and wellness sector have broadened Basic-Fit's offerings, enriching the overall customer experience. 

By harmonizing network expansion, affordable pricing, technological innovation, and relentless focus on quality and customer satisfaction, Basic-Fit has secured a substantial market share in the European fitness industry, mirroring a strategy that nurtures reciprocal growth between the brand and its community.

2. McFIT


McFIT is a German fitness chain founded in 1996 by Rainer Schaller. The company's goal was to make fitness accessible to everyone at a low monthly fee, and it has since become Germany's most prominent fitness studio chain in terms of membership. McFIT has over 250 European studios in countries including Germany, Austria, Italy, and Spain.

Membership Cost: Prices start at around €19.90 per month, offering a cost-effective solution for individuals aiming to maintain a healthy lifestyle without a hefty price tag.

Amenities: McFIT facilities feature various modern gym equipment, cardio and strength training zones, and functional training areas. Select locations offer group fitness classes and personal training services.

What makes McFIT successful?

McFIT's success can be attributed to its expansive network with hundreds of European studios catering to a vast demographic. The innovative training concepts introduced by McFIT keep members engaged and offer a unique workout experience. 

Strong branding and effective marketing have helped McFIT discover a distinct identity in the competitive fitness market. Community engagement initiatives by McFIT foster a sense of belonging among its members, enhancing customer loyalty and retention.

3. PureGym


PureGym is a UK-based fitness chain that was founded in 2008. The company's mission is to make fitness flexible, easy, and affordable for everyone, and it has since become the largest gym chain in the UK and the second largest in Europe, with over 500 locations in operation.

Membership Cost: Membership prices commence at approximately £19.99 per month, catering to a broad range of customers looking for a budget-friendly option.

Amenities: PureGym facilities come equipped with a vast selection of gym equipment, providing 24/7 access, group exercise classes, and personal training services. The no-contract membership model aligns with modern-day consumer preferences, offering flexibility to members.

What makes PureGym successful?

The success of PureGym stems from its accessibility, offering 24/7 access to cater to individuals with varying schedules. The no-contract membership model lowers entry barriers, attracting those who prefer a flexible commitment.

PureGym's continuous expansion has made fitness more accessible to people across the UK and beyond. The effective integration of modern technology streamlines membership management and workout tracking, enhancing the overall customer experience. A strong emphasis on building a supportive community is crucial in member retention and satisfaction, positioning PureGym as a significant player in the UK's fitness industry.

4. David Lloyd Clubs


David Lloyd Clubs, a fitness chain founded in the UK in 1982, has become a prestigious name in the European fitness landscape, renowned for its upscale, family-centric fitness and leisure venues. With over 100 locations across the UK, Ireland, Spain, and Belgium, the brand strives to offer a premium fitness experience encapsulating high-quality facilities and personalized services.

Membership Cost: While the membership cost varies depending on the location and type, it's positioned at a premium price point, reflecting the comprehensive range of facilities and services offered. Prices start at around £85 per month.

Amenities: David Lloyd Clubs are well-regarded for their extensive range of amenities, including state-of-the-art gym equipment, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, spa facilities, and a variety of group exercise classes. They also offer family-friendly amenities like kids' clubs and family-oriented activities.

What makes David Lloyd Clubs successful?

David Lloyd Clubs thrive on their ability to offer a unique, family-friendly environment, coupled with a wide range of high-quality amenities. Their emphasis on creating a community-centric atmosphere where members can engage in fitness, leisure, and social activities sets David Lloyd Clubs apart in a crowded market. The continuous investment in premium facilities and innovative fitness programs contributes to the brand's strong member retention and market position.

5. The Gym Group


Emerging from the UK in 2007, The Gym Group has established itself as a go-to fitness destination for those seeking an affordable, no-frills workout experience. With over 180 locations across the UK, the brand's mission is to render fitness accessible and budget-friendly, abiding by a low-cost, no-contract membership model.

Membership Cost: Membership prices are highly competitive, starting at around £16.99 per month, providing an accessible fitness solution for many.

Amenities: The Gym Group facilities offer a range of modern gym equipment, 24/7 access, group fitness classes, and personal training services, encapsulated in a no-frills, straightforward gym environment.

What makes The Gym Group successful?

The success of The Gym Group is anchored in its affordable, no-contract membership model that reduces the financial barrier to gym access. The 24/7 operational hours cater to individuals with diverse schedules, enhancing its appeal to a broader audience. A simplistic, user-friendly gym environment, paired with effective use of technology for seamless membership management, contributes to a satisfying customer experience and the brand's steady growth.

6. Life Fit Group


Life Fit Group, originating in Germany in 2012, operates an array of brands catering to diverse market segments in the fitness industry. With over 70 locations across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, Life Fit Group adopts a holistic approach towards fitness, encompassing a spectrum of fitness, wellness, and therapy services.

Membership Cost: Membership costs vary across different brands operated by Life Fit Group, accommodating a wide range of budget preferences and fitness needs. Prices start at €19.90 per month.

Amenities: Life Fit Group's facilities are diverse, ranging from traditional gym equipment and group fitness classes to wellness and therapy services, depending on the specific brand and location.

What makes Life Fit Group successful?

Life Fit Group's success is a testament to its diversified brand portfolio that addresses various market segments, from budget-friendly gyms to premium wellness centers. The integrated approach to fitness, wellness, and therapy under a single umbrella allows Life Fit Group to cater to a broader customer base, fostering loyalty and promoting a holistic approach to health and well-being. 

Continually adapting to market trends and emphasizing high-quality service across all its brands solidify Life Fit Group's position in the competitive fitness landscape.

7. Holmes Place


Holmes Place, a reputable name in the European fitness sector, originated in 1980 and flourished across various countries, including Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, and Israel. The brand epitomizes a premium fitness journey for its members, aligning with its mission of fostering health and wellness.

Membership Cost: Holmes Place's membership commences at €99 per month, reflecting its premium positioning in the market. Prospective members can enroll online or at any of their over 70 centers across Europe.

Amenities: The club is synonymous with a plethora of top-notch amenities like cutting-edge fitness equipment, diverse group classes, personal training, swimming pools, and spa and wellness facilities, to mention a few. These amenities are tailored to ensure a holistic wellness experience.

What makes Holmes Place successful?

Holmes Place's success narrative is intertwined with its premium service delivery, encapsulated in high-quality facilities and personalized service. The brand's unwavering dedication to health and wellness and an ambitious expansion strategy across Europe have been pivotal in retaining a loyal clientele and enlarging its market share.

8. Virgin Active


Since its inception in 1999, Virgin Active has become a formidable fitness brand across Europe, distinguishing itself through an innovative fitness approach and with a presence in over 240 locations globally, including the UK, Italy, Spain, South Africa, and Thailand.

Membership Cost: Offering a spectrum of membership options, Virgin Active's pricing starts at £20 per month, making fitness fun and accessible.

Amenities: Members are indulged with a rich assortment of amenities, including modern gym apparatus, group exercise classes, personal training, swimming pools, and wellness services that enhance the workout experience.

What makes Virgin Active successful?

Virgin Active thrives on innovation, a community-centric ethos, and an unyielding resolve to provide a superior member experience. The brand's affiliation with the globally revered Virgin Group further augments its market position, fostering trust and brand loyalty.

9. L'Orange Bleue


L'Orange Bleue, since its establishment in 1996, has been a beacon of fitness and wellness in the European landscape. The brand, with over 400 centers in France, Belgium, and Spain, is driven by a mission of affordability and accessibility in fitness.

Membership Cost: With membership prices starting at €19.90 per month, L'Orange Bleue is an affordable choice for fitness enthusiasts.

Amenities: The brand extends a broad spectrum of amenities encompassing gym equipment, group fitness classes, personal training, and wellness services, creating a conducive environment for fitness pursuits.

What makes L'Orange Bleue successful?

The cornerstone of L'Orange Bleue's success is its unique fitness philosophy, robust community engagement, and relentless focus on delivering value. Its affordability and welcoming environment have fostered a large, loyal customer base, further amplified by its European expansion initiatives.

10. Clever Fit


Clever Fit, founded in 2004, has solidified its standing as a trusted fitness brand in Europe, predominantly recognized for its value-driven gym offerings. With over 800 locations spanning Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, the brand embodies simplicity and affordability in fitness.

Membership Cost: Clever Fit's budget-friendly membership model begins at €19.90 per month, aligning with its mission of making fitness accessible.

Amenities: Members can access a basic but comprehensive range of amenities, including gym equipment, group fitness classes, and personal training services, fostering a convenient workout environment.

What makes Clever Fit successful?

Clever Fit's trajectory of success is hinged on its value proposition, which caters to budget-conscious individuals without compromising on quality. The brand's emphasis on convenience, demonstrated by 24/7 gym access, alongside its aggressive expansion across Europe, continues to attract a loyal member base and elevate its market share.

11. Énergie Fitness


Énergie Fitness, established in 2003, thrives on delivering an inviting workout environment in the UK and beyond. The gym's appeal lies in its budget-friendly yet spirited fitness atmosphere, reaching out to those seeking an accessible fitness haven.

Membership Cost: With a starting price of £19.99 per month, Énergie Fitness ensures that fitness doesn't have to break the bank.

Amenities: The gym is packed with modern workout equipment, diversified group fitness classes, and personal training, and fosters a lively, encouraging workout ambiance.

What makes Énergie Fitness successful?

The cornerstone of Énergie Fitness's success is its enticing pricing coupled with a lively workout setting. The community-driven ethos nurtures a sense of camaraderie among members, ensuring a sustained affinity towards the brand.

12. JD Gyms


JD Gyms, hitting the fitness scene in the mid-2010s, combines chic, modern gym aesthetics with an affordable pricing structure across its extensive UK outlets, making premium fitness experiences accessible.

Membership Cost: Offering memberships at competitive rates, JD Gyms balances cost and quality.

Amenities: The gyms are outfitted with top-notch equipment, a vast array of group exercise classes, and personal training, all wrapped in a luxurious workout environment.

What makes JD Gyms successful?

JD Gyms' narrative of affordable luxury in fitness has resonated well with a diverse member base, fueling its rapid ascension in the market. The modern and stylish gym spaces and a broad spectrum of fitness options keep members returning.

13. Fitness First


Dating back to 1993, Fitness First has cemented its position in the fitness realm globally. With an extensive network of gyms, it extends a comprehensive fitness journey to its members.

Membership Cost: The membership pricing at Fitness First begins at £29.95 per month, aligning with its premium service ethos.

Amenities: The gyms house advanced workout equipment, many group fitness classes, and personal training alongside wellness services, encapsulating a holistic fitness expedition.

What makes Fitness First successful?

The extensive global footprint, a well-rounded fitness offering, and a relentless focus on member satisfaction have been the pillars of Fitness First's enduring success, earning it a favored status among fitness enthusiasts.

14. RSG Group


With its roots established in the early 2000s, RSG Group has broadened its horizons in the fitness industry by diversifying its offerings across various brands. This unique model has positioned it as a notable name in the fitness sector.

Membership Cost: The membership pricing within RSG Group's diversified brand portfolio caters to many budget preferences and fitness needs, starting at €19.90 per month, as seen in some of its brands.

Amenities: The amenities offered across RSG Group's facilities span a broad spectrum, from traditional gym equipment to wellness and therapy services, depending on the specific brand and location, ensuring a tailored fitness and wellness journey for its members.

What makes RSG Group successful?

The diversified brand portfolio of RSG Group and its knack for addressing different market segments are pivotal to its success. 

The integrated approach to fitness and wellness under a single umbrella enhances its appeal and provides a broader customer base with varied fitness solutions.

15. Viva Gym


Established in the early 2010s, Viva Gym has carved a niche as a modern, budget-friendly gym chain in Europe. Its straightforward approach to fitness attracts individuals seeking a no-nonsense workout environment.

Membership Cost: Viva Gym extends budget-friendly memberships, making fitness accessible to a broader audience, with prices starting at R199 per month, as seen in its South African outlets.

Amenities: Aligning with its straightforward fitness approach, Viva Gym provides basic but modern gym equipment, group fitness classes, and personal training services, ensuring members have what they need for a solid workout.

What makes Viva Gym successful?

The success of Viva Gym is anchored in its simple, budget-friendly fitness solutions. Its modern, no-nonsense approach to fitness and unique member experience facilitated through a mobile app appeal to individuals seeking an uncomplicated workout environment. 

The gym's strong marketing strategy, leveraging social media and influencer marketing, has also significantly increased its visibility and attracted a growing and loyal membership base.

Common questions asked about the most successful gyms in Europe

Which Gym is the Biggest in the whole of Europe?

Determining the biggest gym in Europe can be challenging as it depends on various factors like the number of branches, membership size, or facility square footage. Nevertheless, large gym chains like Basic-Fit, Fitness First, and PureGym have a significant presence across the continent.

What is the Largest Gym Company in Europe?

Currently, Basic-Fit is the largest gym company in Europe, boasting over 900 locations scattered across various countries.

What are the Best Gyms in Europe?

The "best" gyms can vary based on personal preferences, but some renowned European gym chains include Fitness First, PureGym, and Anytime Fitness. These chains are often recognized for their extensive amenities, quality equipment, and diverse fitness programs.

Which Gym Chain Has the Most Locations in Europe?

Basic-Fit leads in terms of the number of locations in Europe, with a network of over 900 gyms established across various countries.

What is the Most Exclusive Gym in Europe?

Among the exclusive gyms in Europe, KX Gym in London stands out for its high-end fitness facilities and personalized services catering to a discerning clientele.

Where is the Oldest Gym in Europe?

The prestigious title of the oldest gym in Europe goes to Turnverein zu Berlin, established in 1811 in Berlin, Germany.

Which Gym is the Fastest-Growing in Europe?

Basic-Fit is on a rapid growth trajectory in Europe, with ambitious plans to inaugurate hundreds of new locations in the foreseeable future.

Which European Country Has the Most Gyms?

The exact count of gyms per European country can be elusive; however, countries like the UK, Germany, and France have a thriving gym culture, indicating many gym establishments.

Which Gym Has the Most Members?

With over 2 million members, Basic-Fit is the gym chain with the most members in Europe.

How Many Members Does a Gym Need to Be Successful?

Success in terms of membership varies and is influenced by factors like gym size, location, and pricing. Yet, a common trait among successful gyms is a membership base ranging from several hundred to several thousand individuals.

What is the Average Membership Size for Gyms?

The membership size can fluctuate widely among gyms; however, a typical range is from several hundred to several thousand members, depending on factors like the gym's location and size.

How Many Members Does a Small Gym Typically Have?

A small gym might host a membership ranging from a few dozen to a few hundred individuals, contingent on its size and geographic location.

Which Gym Chain is Present All Over Europe?

Basic-Fit has a broad footprint in Europe, with its gyms present in over 20 countries, making it one of the most widespread gym chains on the continent.

Which Gym Chain Offers the Best Experience?

The best gym experience is subjective and varies from person to person. Fitness First, PureGym, and Anytime Fitness are often lauded for superior European gym experiences.

How Can TeamUp Help Your Gym Succeed?

TeamUp offers a robust gym management software solution that assists gym owners in streamlining operations, managing memberships, and enhancing customer engagement. Utilizing TeamUp can lead to operational efficiencies, cost savings, and an enriched experience for gym members.

 

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