The fitness industry has never been more popular among consumers, both domestically and internationally. As more people make health and exercise a part of their daily routines, the demand for affordable and convenient gyms continues to rise. And while there are no shortage of franchise brands competing to be the leader in the fitness industry, a few have managed to emerge as the ones to beat.
One of those brands is Anytime Fitness. Since launching its franchise opportunity back in 2002, the brand has solidified its position at the forefront of the booming segment. And its momentum isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon—by the end of this month alone, the brand will have more than 3,500 franchise units and 36 company owned gyms in all 50 states and in 30 different countries on five different continents.
That level of global success is rare in the franchising industry. But Anytime Fitness isn’t resting on its laurels—the brand has plans to make 2017 its best year yet. And Anytime Fitness’ CEO, Chuck Runyon, says making that goal a reality comes down to investing in the people who make up its franchise system.
“Our business ultimately comes down to people. And investing in them starts here at the corporate office—it’s up to us to double down and increase our investments to ensure that our employees are growing both personally and professionally. That means offering more things like workshops and educational sessions,” said Runyon. “By investing in our employees and franchisees, our consumers then reap the benefits. Ultimately, we help people achieve their fitness goals when our staff members and clubs are equipped with the tools and education that they need. We’ve found that being lifelong learners helps everything fall into place.”
In addition to focusing on educational programs, Anytime Fitness plans to make 2017 its most successful year to date by continuing to place an emphasis on global growth. Lately, the brand has noticed that the door is wide open to expand outside of the U.S., and interest in its franchise opportunity is on the rise.
“2016 was the first year where we opened and sold more clubs outside of the U.S. than we did prior. That’s a trend that we expect to continue throughout this year,” said Runyon. “However, that doesn’t mean we’re not expanding across the country. We expect to continue opening 100 or so clubs a year in the U.S. But internationally, that number will be closer to 300. We’re really optimistic—the attractiveness of better health and entrepreneurship points to growth in the years to come. At the end of the day, fitness is a global language.”
Runyon believes that the potential surrounding Anytime Fitness heading into 2017 isn’t limited to that one brand. In fact, he’s confident that this will be a successful year for the franchising industry as a whole.
“Between the Brexit and the economic environment in the U.S. following the presidential election, there’s going to be an uptick in franchising. People are getting more and more frustrated with things that are outside of their control, especially when it comes to their careers. That means they’ll want to venture out on their own and pursue business ownership,” said Runyon. “Franchising offers entrepreneurs a unique solution to that problem—people get to control their own destinies while having the backing of an established brand.”