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Meet the Leadership Team: Joe Ranieri, Vice President of Operations at Fitness Premier

Ranieri got his first gym membership at 14 years old and was immediately hooked. Now, backed by 45 years experience, he has taken on the role of VP of Operations with Fitness Premier.

By Erica InmanStaff Writer
SPONSORED 4:16PM 05/02/24

Fitness Premier’s Vice President of Operations Joe Ranieri has 45 years of experience in the fitness industry. With a career spanning both corporate and entrepreneurial ventures, Ranieri has had a hand in the success of many fitness concepts, including the predecessor to Bally Total Fitness, Powerhouse and various other corporate fitness brands.

His passion for fitness, however, dates back to his youth. 

“I've always loved to work out. I got my first gym membership when I was 14 playing high school football and I was powerlifting and training,” Ranieri said.

The gym crowd soon became a big part of Ranieri’s life and he grew within the community over time, finding that his passion for fitness paved the way to a very rewarding career.

“I joined a gym, made friends in the industry and before I knew it, I was manager and then I was a supervisor and then I just grew within the industry,” he said. “But the primary focus for me and what I've always loved about fitness is that nothing bad happens in the gym; it's a place for people to go to improve themselves. It's something I've always loved to do myself, but I've also found great gratification in helping others achieve their fitness goals.”

Ranieri was drawn to Fitness Premier by more than just his love of fitness. Ranieri’s introduction to the Fitness Premier team came through a mutual friend who worked in fitness equipment sales. Having resigned from his role as regional vice president of Florida for a major fitness chain, Ranieri and his wife decided to move to South Carolina to be closer to family. In a meeting with CEO Jason Markowicz, Vice President Rick King and Regional Director of Training and Development Mike Orwig, the Fitness Premier leadership team and Ranieri realized they would both stand to benefit from combining forces. 

“I wanted to help a brand grow and I was looking for the right opportunity,” Ranieri said. “Fitness Premier has an aggressive growth plan and, with me moving to South Carolina, it coincides perfectly with their game plan to grow in the southeast United States. It was a perfect fit.”

Other than the fortuitous timing, the brand’s ethos was something Ranieri could deeply relate to and get behind.

"Jason, Rick and Mike — these gentlemen are home-grown," Ranieri said. “They started off in the industry just like I did: scrubbing showers, answering phones, selling memberships, fixing equipment. They were basically the nuts and bolts of the industry. I have great respect and admiration for how they started this concept and how they've grown it.” 

Ranieri also admires the brand’s community-centered approach to fitness. With roots in small community-based fitness centers, he looks forward to offering the intimate, personal experience he knows a gym can offer. 

“There's nothing better than walking into a gym and having everybody know your name,” he said. “We want to be that hub of the community where people go to get in great shape.” 

In addition to helping the brand grow, Ranieri aims to support existing locations by refining and applying best practices to increase scalability and this, of course, comes down to the support he and the other members of the leadership team will give franchisees. For new franchisees looking for their next investment with Fitness Premier, Ranieri offers the following advice: “Look at the qualities of the executive team and the support they will offer you. More than anything else, tap into the brand’s desire to help people.” 

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