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More 24-hour gyms in S'pore

Publication Date : 16-01-2014

 

A US-based fitness chain aims to open 100 24-hour gyms in Singapore's heartland within five years.

Anytime Fitness, which operates on a franchise model, specialises in what it calls cosy gyms - centres of about 3,500 sq ft, far smaller than "big box" gyms that can be 20,000 sq ft.

Company president Dave Mortensen told The Straits Times during a visit last week: "I've been in the industry for 23 years and we really saw that consumers were lacking in certain needs.

"One being more community-based facilities that were solely focused on fitness and wellness... stripping out all the other frills you may have to pay for at other facilities such as pools, spas."

Anytime Fitness expects global revenue to have hit $484.4 million last year, up 30 per cent from 2012.

The firm has 2,400 Anytime Fitness clubs in 16 countries and aims to open 4,000 clubs in the United States and a further 4,000 worldwide - which Mr Mortensen said is a "long-term plan".

It was ranked number one on American magazine Entrepreneur's 35th Annual Franchise 500 ranking, beating big names such as sandwich chain Subway and 7-Eleven.

The ranking looks at America's top franchise opportunities and industries with room to grow.

Maurice Levine, the fitness chain's master franchisee, added: "We are able to open up in community areas where people live and have access to gyms, within a three-minute walking distance of someone's home, because convenience trumps everything when it comes to the gym business."

The firm is looking at "high density housing areas" such as HDB estates and is working with organisations such as the People's Association.

The first Anytime Fitness gym opened in Ace The Place community club in Woodlands on October 6, and another will open at MacPherson Community Club at the end of the month.

Membership fees are S$80 (US$62.76) a month with a 12- or 18-month contract.

Anytime Fitness had a meeting with the Health Promotion Board last week.

Levine believes more can be done to encourage people to head to the gym.

"Something in the order of 40 per cent of Singaporeans live sedentary, non-active lifestyles... and (there's just) 5 per cent penetration for gyms.

"There's a lot of opportunity there."

He added that the firm's real challenge is not other gyms but public indifference to the benefits of fitness.

"Our competition is apathy, lethargy, lack of interest, people being intimidated by gyms, people not being able to access gyms because the hours are not comfortable or the price is not affordable.

"So it's about removing the barriers such that people can make healthy lifestyle choices," he said.

 

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