Dutch gym franchise fit20 is preparing to launch its first fitness studio in Auckland next month and plans to open 25 studios in New Zealand.

The niche appointment-only gym chain, which has studios in the UK, US, Belgium and Qatar, will open its first New Zealand studio in Albany in the North Shore.

Fit20 New Zealand managing director Catharina Flisijn said the franchise was a niche market in the fitness industry.

"We train 20-minutes per week, always with a personal trainer on appointment. People come in alone or together with a training partner but basically there aren't any other people in the studio at the time," Flisijn said. "We cool the studio down to 17C so there's no sweating involved so people can come in their normal clothes. It's high-intensity training, six different exercises on six different machines - it's all about strengthening muscles."


Flisijn said fit20 would not have direct competition operating in the New Zealand market.

"In general, of course people can decide if they don't want to train with a personal trainer or prefer a cheaper option of 24-hour gyms, but specific to what we do I don't think there is direct competition."

Once fit20 opens it will cost $90 as a one-off joining fee and there are several plan options including $29 per week, per person, to train with another person or a solo rate of $39 per week to train with a trainer.

Flisijn plans to open studios throughout the North Shore and then expand into Wellington and Christchurch, and Australia, she said.

"We want to open up studios all over the country, we're aiming for 25 at first."

The franchise started in Holland nine years ago and had since proven popular in other markets, including in the UK which it launched in last year, Flisijn said.

"New Zealand people are very into sports, and I think this will attract busy people and seniors who like personal attention... so I think with an ageing population this will work well over here, the same as in other countries."

Chris Wilkinson, managing director of First Retail Group, said New Zealand has a lot of "boutique" independent gyms with small and exclusive memberships.


"New Zealand has been a pioneer in the fitness sector, with the likes of Les Mills and others, who have developed innovation and differentiation in a market where traditional gyms have become commoditised," Wilkinson said.

"Their success has inspired entrepreneurship, which we see through independent and 'artisan' type gyms and programmes so, that market is doing well, but whether there is room for a franchise model of this remains to be seen."