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The Pulse

Anytime Fitness CEO Wins Leadership Award

Chuck Runyon. Photo courtesy of Anytime Fitness.

Chuck Runyon.

Chief Executive magazine has awarded its first-ever “Leadership” award to Anytime Fitness CEO and co-founder Chuck Runyon. He was picked for the award from a pool of 200,000 mid-market executives.

Mid-market companies have yearly revenues in the $10 million to $1 billion range. The Middle Market CEO Award Selection Committee searched through 197,000 firms and evaluated their performances based on both qualitative (uncommon but effective business strategies, interesting products, etc.) and quantitative (company growth) data.

Anytime Fitness, which has an annual revenue of more than $484 million, was recognized for its leadership philosophy and relative growth within the fitness industry.

Starting in Minneapolis, Minn., in 2002 as a single club, Anytime Fitness has now grown into a chain that includes 2,300 clubs in 50 different countries.

Runyon’s style of leadership that he has brought to the company was recognized by the magazine as something that stood out among other competing clubs and businesses.

“While the concept behind Anytime Fitness was clearly a winner, the company’s leadership philosophy — one the founders describe as ROEI or Return on Emotional Investment — is as integral to its success as its business model,” said Chief Executive editor-in-chief JP Donlon, in a news release. “Its founders think of themselves as ‘coaches’ helping people, whether employees or gym members, become better people.”

Runyon noted that Anytime Fitness often hosts classes and workshops for its employees that don’t always have to do with business practices or the fitness industry. Classes have been offered in gardening and skydiving, for example. It’s all part of Anytime Fitness’ fundamental belief that its employees should be growing as people, not just club operators.

“Some companies are good at reinvesting in their employees, but it’s about helping them become better employees,” Runyon said in the release. “We invest a significant amount of resources to help our employees become better people.”

Something else that stood out to Chief Executive magazine when giving this award was the concept that inspired Anytime Fitness’ name: members having constant access to the gym.

“Anytime Fitness’ breakout success in the crowded, low-margin fitness club business is founded on a novel concept for its industry: providing its members with 24/7, low-cost access to a network of workout facilities that are 30 to 50 percent smaller than average,” Donlon said.

On Runyon, the judges of the “Leadership” award pointed to his people skills.

“Runyon is driven to succeed in his business and personal life through investments in people and relationships,” said Jill Anderson of Cianna Medical, who was a judge on the committee.

Anytime Fitness, which is already one of the fastest growing fitness franchises in the country, plans on continuing its upward trend, wanting to open 300 additional locations per year.


By Ashley Scoby

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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