Anytime Fitness: 24-hr gym muscles up
AS PRESIDENT and co-founder of the world’s fastest-growing health club, Dave Mortensen sees his job as an opportunity for more people to experience the value of fitness.
He said less than 3 percent of Filipinos have gym memberships. Mortensen saw this golden opportunity to reach out to Filipinos and present his idea of having access to a gym that is open 24 hours.
Mortensen is no stranger in running a fitness gym. For over 25 years, he has been managing, consulting, owning and franchising health clubs all over the world.
He, together with Chuck Runyon, revolutionized the fitness industry when they offered an alternative to big box gyms. In 2002, the first Anytime Fitness club opened in Cambridge, Minnesota.
But it was unlike any other gyms. Mortensen and Ruynon designed smaller, neighborhood clubs featuring the basic needs of members. Chief among them are convenience, affordability, quality equipment and friendly service in non-intimidating facilities.
Fear of going to gyms
“People have a fear of going to a gym for the first time. They feel embarrassed about the way they look. Our fitness consultants are trained to help them create and achieve their fitness goals [so that] they will not be afraid of living a healthier, happier and longer life,” he says.
Ranked first on Entrepreneur’s prestigious Franchise 500, Anytime Fitness now serves nearly three million members in five continents.
This year, Anytime Fitness opened its gym in Paseo Center, Makati, its 3,000th in the world.
“Our Paseo Center gym is a significant milestone for the Philippines as this will lead us to becoming the No. 1 gym provider in the Philippines within the next 12 months based on our projection,” he says.
The Paseo Center is the fifth Anytime Fitness Club in the country. The first branch opened in Pasig last year. Other branches are in New Manila, BF Homes, Greenhills and BGC High Street.
The team is planning to open more gyms in Cebu, Davao, Pasay, UP Town Center, Quezon Avenue and Nuvali.
Mortensen describes the health club’s growth story in the Philippines as one that is experiencing “astronomical growth … It’s amazing how the community has opened their arms for us.”
Unlike other leisure clubs that has over a thousand members, Anytime Fitness only has 800 members for each club.
“We are not just about the return of financial investments. But we focus more on the stories of people. We often tell our franchisers that there are a lot of financial opportunities out there. With us, we believe in making a valuable impact on the lives of our clients,” he said.
For Mortensen, the very core of his business is to help more people get into a healthier place.
The running man
Clients from all over the world may be identified as an Anytime Fitness Club member because of the “running man” tattoo they sport.
The “running man” logo has a story for each member. But they all point toward life-changing events.
“Some people find peace in the gym. Basically, the logo means moving forward with your life,” says Mortensen.
He believes that working out requires a lot of hard work and discipline. Yet he feels that fun also plays an important aspect. “[We] bring a little bit of joy in the community we serve.”
Mortensen and his team have also utilized technology to offer franchisers from across the globe the ease and convenience of dealing with the company.
“Whether you’re an accountant or a doctor, you can operate a gym effectively through our system,” he said. Each franchise costs P15 million.
He adds, “our franchisers love that they can determine their own work schedules, never having to miss important family events.”
The country, he says, has a lot of untapped opportunities especially in the business process outsourcing sector. The set-up of the gym is a perfect fit for call center agents, he says.
In terms of equipment, they view it as a sustainable product that offers the best functionality, which can “extend above and beyond” service to their clients. “We buy the best equipment that money can buy. [In the long run], this will help us reduce cost because we make the most out of our top-quality exercise equipment,” he says.
Still, Mortensen says, “We do not want you to feel that we are holding your hand all throughout. We just teach our members to be self-reliant to live that kind of lifestyle.”
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