Anytime Fitness Is ‘Coach-First’ Gym

Anytime Fitness had a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday with the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce. Pictured (L to R) are: Scott Wiley, Chamber member relations manager; Scott Allison, W.R. Hall Insurance; Jeremy Tolson, manager; Marisela Gallegos, personal trainer; Angela and Chad Hugo, owners; Brooke Hamstra, Cardinal Services; Chris Zolman, Harmony Marketing Group; and Rob Parker, Chamber CEO and president. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.

Anytime Fitness has been in Warsaw for a few years, but its new owners are taking the gym in a different direction with their vast experience in fitness.

Chad and Angela Hugo bought the club in December 2018.

“At that point, it was a club that had minimal visibility per ownership or even employees,” Chad said prior to a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday with the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce. “So what we’ve done over the years is move into gyms and build them, so to speak, from the ground up.”

Anytime Fitness is the second franchise the Hugos have been a part of, having owned gyms in places like Michigan. They’ve also ran supplement and nutrition companies and other gyms across Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas and “all over” the country, he said.

“We’ve been really lucky over the years to have touched about every facet of fitness from the nutrition; we built some nutrition stores where it was nutritional coaching with a bunch of supplements; and we built corporate wellness programs; we built group fitness programs, that was our previous franchise, just group fitness. So we found with Anytime Fitness, we were able to bring them all together under one roof and have a high-value facility where we can help anybody, even people that are not gym people. We can still touch them and help them with nutrition and workouts via our platforms that we created through our apps and other systems,” Chad said.

So after being everywhere else, how did they end up in Warsaw?

With the previous team Chad worked for, he was very close to the founder of the Anytime Fitness franchise, Chuck Runyon.

“We had a really good system for market analysis to find the right market. My plan was to buy a gym in Florida. I grew up in Michigan, I’m a Midwestern guy, and my wife as well, she’s a Midwestern girl. We wanted to be done with the cold. Turns out, there wasn’t anything available that we liked, so we ran the market analysis in different markets and, lo and behold, No. 1 on the list was Warsaw,” he said.

They went by the numbers, and Chad said Warsaw truly has been a “blessing” since.

If previous members of Anytime Fitness go into the club now, they’ll notice many changes, including the disappearance of a room that used to be at the back of the facility.

“The biggest thing is, fitness changes, and there’s trends all the time,” Chad said.

In the early 2000s, it was Curves and women only, and men weren’t even allowed to look in. There was a circuit of equipment for women to use and essentially hide, Chad said. Then came CrossFit and now there’s boot camps and other evolutions.

“Well, ours is one where it is all inclusive. We don’t want to give people a place to go hide and try to be comfortable. If we can create comfort or bridge that gap when they come into the club as a member, then we have a whole group full and club full of people that are like-minded and comfortable working in the same direction. So we take the walls down,” Chad said. “And we are a coaching club. Not membership like most Anytime Fitnesses, or other clubs you might go to where they quick-talk you into signing something, you get a membership and you never talk to anyone again. Here, we’re just the opposite. We start every one of our members off with a coach.”

He said they make sure they get their members started in the right direction with the goals that they have. Once they’re comfortable working out in the gym, the members don’t need walls to hide behind.

After a new member agrees to make a commitment to their fitness at Anytime Fitness, “then we set up and immediately schedule and finalize their onboard with a coach, where we go over their history and fitness, their health fitness. We map out their goals on a grid. So we want to make sure that there’s a timeline so we can create a sense of urgency to get to the goal, and then we actually set them up for what they should do each day that they come into the gym,” Chad said.

The onboard process is “geared” to make sure everyone gets started in the right direction, he said.

Asked about cost, Chad said, “Cost is the price you pay, value is what you get. And here the value is much different because each one of our members goes through a full onboard process. We know all of our members’ names and we know their goals and their stories. The variables, the members that work out on their own, the variables that they use – how much cardio, how often they attend, all of that stuff – we monitor that. We’ve got a $7,000 body scanner called an Evolt that kicks out 20 data points. And in those data points, we can tell if the variables that they’re using are the wrong ones. If they are, they’re on an unsustainable and unhealthy path, and we help redirect them and fix their variables so they can work in the right direction, get them refocused.”

A gym membership somewhere else for $10 might sound good, he said, but the results are minimal because it allows the person to continue in a cycle that won’t get them results and no one is there to check and help them.

“The difference is value. We add a lot more accountability and support to our members that most gyms don’t,” Chad said.

As for the equipment, he said they’ve replaced all the cardio with new. They’ve added rowers and steppers.

“Our philosophy is variety. We don’t want people to just get stuck on a treadmill because eventually the body adapts and it’s very hard to stay motivated to come walk in the same place every day for years and years. There’s more to fitness than that,” Chad said.

When they took down the room in the back, they added a functional training area where people can train movement, he said.

They’ve expanded equipment, and the only piece of equipment remaining from when the Hugos took the gym over is a max rack.

“So we’ve added a bunch of plate load and different racks to make sure that if we preach about the importance of strength training, that our gym looks like what we preach,” he said.

Members have access to the gym 24/7. With a membership, Chad said a person also gains 24/7 access to Anytime Fitness in the world.

“The main differentiater though is us being a coach-first club, rather than a membership club. It eliminates crowdedness, it eliminates disingenuous fitness people,” Chad said. “When I came I took the tanning beds out. I didn’t want anybody in here that was here for tanning, might grab a workout. Other places have all these other amenities that attract people, and in my opinion they’re not truly fitness people, they’re there for other things and it detracts from the culture. So our culture, our vibe, and the busyness of the club is purely fitness people. And, man, does it make a difference when you’re around like-minded people.”