13 Gym Entrepreneurs That are Killing it
#8 – Jillian Michaels, Personal Trainer and CEO
From workout DVDs like Bodyshred and Body Revolution to TV shows and celebrity endorsements and clients to becoming a best-selling author and founder of Impact, a women’s and children’s activewear brand, Jillian Michaels seemingly has seen nothing but success after success. With custom supplements on shelves at supermarkets around the country, Jillian has been nothing short of innovative as her career as a fitness professional continues.
Jillian Michaels has held certifications in the following:
- National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association(NESTA)
- The Aerobics and Fitness Association of America(AFAA)
- Kettlebell Concepts
- Nutrition and Wellness Certificate with the American Fitness Professionals and Associates(AFPA)
An owner of a black belt, Jillian has used variations of kickboxing, yoga, pilates, plyometrics, and weight training while developing not only an education series for trainers with the AFAA, but a 30-minute workout class at Goodlife Gyms in Canada, and US clubs such as Lifetime Fitness, Crunch, and UFC Gyms.
From 60-minute home workout infomercials like BODYSHRED, to selling over 100 million copies of her 20 fitness DVDs, to her eight New York Times bestsellers, Jillian Michaels has cemented a place in our list of top 13 entrepreneurs in the fitness and health industry.
Jillian Michales has stayed busy throughout her career with a Sunday radio talk show in Los Angeles from 2006 to 2009, along with being in front of the podcast wave by hosting a show starting back in February of 2011, a podcast in which she won an award for Best New Audio Podcast category in December of the same year.
Her website Fitfusion operates under her company, Empowered Media LLC, which she launched in 2008, along with a video game, Jillian Michaels’ Fitness Ultimatum 2009 that was released on the Wii. To date, she’s released a total of four fitness video games.
#7 – Chuck Runyon, Anytime Fitness Co-Founder and CEO
Anytime Fitness recently opened its 4,000th location worldwide is so popular that thousands of its members tattoo the gym name on their bodies. Anytime Fitness Co-founder and CEO Chuck Runyon started Anytime Fitness 16 years ago after his brother died from heart disease, so Chuck is aware of the life-changing power that fitness has over people.
Amassing over $1 billion in revenue and boasting around four million members at clubs worldwide, Anytime Fitness and Chuck Runyon planned to open over 400 new locations, most of them being opened in international locations.
A mainstay on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list, Chuck founded Anytime Fitness in 2001 and started franchising a year later in 2002. There are over 1,600 locations outside of the U.S. alone!
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Anytime Fitness has gyms in these locations:
- All 50 U.S. States
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- Japan and more!
Winning award after award, Anytime Fitness was named as number one on Entrepreneur Magazine’s franchise 500 list in 2014, and in 2015 and 2016, it was named as the top performer out of all the global franchises on the list.
#6 – Joey Gonzalez, Barry’s Bootcamp
In 2004, Joey Gonzalez experienced his first Barry’s Bootcamp workout as a customer in 2004. In just 11 short years, Joey Gonzalez walked into the home office as the CEO of the popular boutique fitness brand. Now valued at a worth of more than $100 million with close to 50 studios-worth of red rooms, Barry’s Bootcamp’s growth is stimulated by private equity capital (by the same firm that helped to grow the overwhelmingly successful brand Equinox).
From customer to trainer, trainer to manager, and finally, from manager to CEO, Joey Gonzalez and Barry’s Bootcamp recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Birthed in the Los Angeles area, the brand sees more than 40,000 clients visit its 50+ locations every week, and Joey still teaches class, the first thing he grew to love about Barry’s Bootcamp.
#5 – Ron “Boss” Everline, Personal Trainer and CEO Total Player LLC.
Another football player with the pedigree for the NFL, Ron “Boss” Everline attended Northwest Missouri State University on a full athletic football scholarship in pursuit of professional employment at the NFL level. With the NFL passing on Everline, he took up the next best choice: making training others his personal work in life.
From training the royal family throughout Europe, Africa, and the United Arab Emirates, Ron Everline’s training programs have transformed into the brand Total Player LLC, an umbrella company he created to introduce luxury health and fitness to paying markets that mainly consist of celebrities; that list includes award-winning comedian and actor Kevin Hart, Grammy Award-winning R&B artist and actor Ne-Yo, singer, actress, and host Christina Milian, former “Cheetah Girl” and star of Empire Girls Adrienne Bailon, and R&B artist and actor Trey Songz.
With his Just-Train side of the business, Everline is working to bring youth fitness to the next level as he looks to continue branching out his brand and capabilities as a trainer.
Founding two gyms, one in Cleveland and one in Los Angeles, Ron Everline has gained over 650k Instagram followers in just ten years after failing to get the long-awaited phone call from an owner of an NFL team. Stating that it was the longest year of his life, Everline’s training protocols hit the jet stream of fitness professionals fast, with word of mouth of his training spreading like wildfire in the celebrity world, increasing his business to epic proportions.
Ron Everline believes strongly in the following:
“Opportunities come when you least expect it and they often come when you’re not actively pursuing it. Focus on building value and set yourself for opportunities to come to you.”
#4 – Dave Long, Orangetheory CEO
Orangetheory, a circuit training niche gym and fitness franchise that has increased in revenue by 137 percent in the last three years, was founded by CEO Dave Long in Boca Raton, Florida, in 2010.
Dave Long and Orangetheory have opened over 1,000 locations and their heart-rate-monitor-based, one-hour long, trainer-led classes have helped members find success by getting them into a metabolic spot that helps to burn calories for much longer after the workout is over.
Touting what they consider to be the “best one-hour workout in the country” Orangetheory Fitness members can expect to burn 500-1,000 calories and even more during the 36 hours following if they hit their sweet spot. This is called the “orange effect” of gaining more energy with visible toning by reaching a target zone that helps to increase metabolism, increase energy, and burn calories.
Setting in place no-contract monthly membership fees with fixed timed classes led by Orangetheory trainers, Dave Long and Orangetheory sit at just above #50 on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list with 115 locations open internationally.
#3 – Chris Rondeau, Planet Fitness CEO
Thriving as the leader of the low-cost gym niche, Planet Fitness is leaps and bounds ahead of its competition, which is nonexistent, with 2018 revenues surpassing $136 million. It’s Entrepreneur Franchise ranking got a big boost from #21 to #7 after seeing an increase of 40 percent from year-to-year.
CEO Chris Rondeau has found the niche perfectly, watching Planet Fitness grow its memberships to over 12 million members, a 65% jump from three years prior in December of 2015. With 1,000 brand new franchises set to roll out in its pipeline, Planet Fitness has not only established but completely dominated the low-cost gym membership niche.
Chris Rondeau and Planet Fitness have been all over the place creating awareness with its partnerships:
- NBC’s The Biggest Loser in 2012, where the contestants worked out on Planet Fitness equipment and at local Planet Fitness gyms in contestant’s local vicinities
- Partnering with entrepreneur 50 Cent to sell his energy drink “Street King”
- Sponsoring ABC and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin Eve in 2014
- Stomp Out Bullying in 2016, an organization dedicated to ending bullying in America
- Partnering with Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs of America, Planet Fitness has raised over $1 million twice, with the first donation being used to help launch their Initiative, the “Judgement Free Zone”
#2 – Carrie Rezebek Dorr, Founder, Pure Barre
With a company that owns a ranking of #147 on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list, Carrie Rezebek Doer founded Pure Barre in 2001, one of the biggest and longest-standing barre workout franchises in the boutique fitness studio niche. Carrie developed the workout that has instructors leading classes that utilize smaller, more isometric movements for fat burning and muscle toning, creating longer and leaner physiques.
As a lifestyle, Pure Barre has a community of supportive women who desire nothing but being healthy. With a top-notch customer service experience, Pure Barre with Carrie at the helm has crafted one of the most exquisite and thoughtfully executed customer experience campaigns to help her carve out her niche with Barre workouts.
With franchising starting in 2009, Carrie’s location count for Pure Barre sits at just over 500, with a few locations available outside of the United States.
Starting with her first barre studio in the basement of an office building in 2001 in Birmingham, Michigan, Carrie took her background as a dancer, choreographer and fitness specialist with no initial clients or staff, bathroom or signage, and now stands as one of the most successful and innovative fitness and health industry entrepreneurs of the past twenty years.
#1 – Josh York, Founder, GYMGUYZ
Josh York is an American entrepreneur and the founder & CEO of GYMGUYZ, one of the fastest-growing and most secure niche fitness brands today. Claiming the #1 position when it comes to delivering in-home personal training, bringing convenient, customized and creative workouts wherever it works best for the client.
Though Josh York is headquartered in Plainview, New York, GYMGUYZ operates over 250 franchises, an idea that began in 2008 with a laptop, vision, and the dining room of York’s parents’ home. Rising to the occasion to meet the demand for in-home personal training, GYMGUYZ received the go-ahead light for franchising in 2014, with the first Canadian GYMGUYZ franchise opening in 2017.
With a free initial visit for a full assessment of the potential client ranging from a body assessment, fitness level, and nutrition practices, sessions are one-hour long with reassessments taking place every fifteen weeks to make sure progress towards client’s goals are being met.
Trainers are equipped for the following offerings:
- Weight Loss
- Body Sculpting
- Weight Training
- Stretching and Strength Training
- Senior fitness
- Obstacle Course Training
- Group and Corporate fitness training
- Pre and post-natal exercise regimens
- Teen and pre-teen fitness
- Nutrition Counseling
- Deep Tissue, Swedish and Sports Massage therapy
- Cardio Fitness and Pool Workouts
Josh York, GYMGUYZ, their mobile fitness concept has 185 locations across 27 states and is already in two countries after only four years of franchising, providing customers with gym service and training in the comfort of their own homes. Ranked in Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500, the brand saw a jump of over 200 spots in its second year of eligibility all the way up to #231.
Mobile fitness concept GYMGUYZ was recently ranked as one of Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500®, the world’s first, best and most comprehensive franchise ranking. With the brand’s continued success and outstanding performance in areas including unit growth, financial strength and stability, and brand power, GYMGUYZ ranked #231 on the list (a total jump of more than 200 spots from the 2018 rankings) with this being only the brand’s second year of eligibility.
GYMGUYZ CEO Josh York had this to say about his brand and company:
“This ranking validates our tireless efforts to be a major player in the industry. We have a mobile concept in an important and ever-changing industry, and our success speaks to the fact that we’re able to change and adapt to the market. We take our franchisee relationships very seriously and do everything we can to help set them up for success.”