As a teenager in Sweden, Johan Palsson dreamed of becoming a PE teacher —but instead, he ended up working in IT for fifteen years.
During that time, he realised that his destiny was never going to be found sitting in an office.
Worked as a personal trainer
So, while keeping his day job, he studied in the evenings to be a fitness coach and worked as a personal trainer.
When he had his first child, he decided to go all-in on a career change and to do something that he truly loved. In 2013, he started Big 5 Fitness in a small space on Wembley Avenue Yarraville—but quickly outgrew the site and moved to a bigger location on Somerville Road, Kingsville in 2016.
Johan’s passion for Big 5 Fitness derives from a simple philosophy: It doesn’t matter what level of fitness you are, we’re here to help you feel better.
At Big 5 Fitness, Johan runs two different programs: a small group program with a very personalised approach, and larger group sessions for those starting on their fitness journey or for general fitness training.
The resistance training programs are all designed around the ‘Big 5’ moves for strength and fat loss—squat, push, pull, hinge and sprint.
Johan now has a second gym in Altona, but there are no plans to turn Big 5 Fitness into a huge gym chain.
“What I love about this business is the very individualised approach that I’m able to give to each person,” explains Johan. “A lot of people are nervous when they first start at a gym but we get to know every member, we adapt exercises as you need and we’re there to make you accountable and to help motivate you to turn up.”
This personalised service means that Big 5 Fitness had a supportive membership base to help keep them afloat during 2020.
“Even though our site was closed for eight months, we had lots of people stay as members and do online workouts with us,” says Johan. “It demonstrated to me the power of community and how important it is for me to continue to be a big part of the business.”