Workout Anytime’s Milestone Reflects Booming Fitness Market
As more and more Americans look to get active—a 2015 Gallup poll found that 55 percent of Americans exercise three or more days a week—the franchised workout and fitness sector is booming.
At the end of 2015, Statista reports there were more than 36,000 gyms spread throughout the United States. Growing under the shadow of fitness giants such as Anytime Fitness and Gold’s Gym, Workout Anytime crossed the 100-unit mark in July with its latest location in Bardstown, Kentucky.
That 100th location was opened by Trey Hornsby, a franchisee with experience in Yum Brands and Zoe’s Kitchen.
Hornsby says targeting oft-overlooked small town markets has helped make Workout Anytime successful as it concentrates on outlying suburbs and small- to medium-sized markets with less competition.
“There are thousands of small towns across America, and the model that works is that you go in with biggest and best facilities at the cheapest price and people will come,” Hornsby said.
After starting in suburban Atlanta, and initially expanding throughout the Southeast U.S., Workout Anytime currently operates in 16 states and is expanding westward.
The membership model is much cheaper than most of its competitors: Workout Anytime offers a $15-per-month base membership, and a $25-per-month premium membership with extended access to tanning beds, along with hydromassages.
COO Mark de Gorter claims Workout Anytime will never be focused on being the biggest, just the best in quality per square foot. And the smaller focus pays off for franchisees—owners need as few as three employees to run their 24-hour, seven-days-a-week fitness club.
“If the other players in our space are at 1,000-3,000 locations, we feel that going from our current 110 clubs to 600 over the next five years is within reach,” de Gorter said.
Six hundred units is a tough proposition to make in such a crowded field, but it helps that more than 60 percent of the company’s franchisees own multiple locations.
Community outreach has helped Workout Anytime build brand awareness when it comes to town. The company started its own charity, LFT22, which was envisioned by a man who returned from active duty and suffered from PTSD. The charity’s intent is to help reverse the current trend of 22 American service members committing suicide each day. Since its initiation, Workout Anytime has donated more than $1 million in free memberships to at-risk vets.
Going forward, the company has international expansion plans already underway, with hopes to end the year at 140 units. Workout Anytime has sold a multi-unit deal in Calgary, Alberta, and is looking for master franchisees for the Toronto and Vancouver territories.
Look out for our Top 200+ ranking in our upcoming October issue, where we’ll detail plenty of other growing fitness franchises as they climb up the ranks and give the category’s biggest players a run for their money.