Podcast Episode: Chuck Runyon — Empathy and Purpose in the Fastest Growing Gym Brand

Podcast Episode: Chuck Runyon — Empathy and Purpose in the Fastest Growing Gym Brand
By: Kelly Card

Chuck Runyon is the CEO of Self Esteem Brands, LLC, and Anytime Fitness, the world’s fastest growing gym brand. Since its founding in 2002 in a small town in Minnesota, Anytime Fitness has grown to over 4,500 locations serving 4 million members, and is currently on 6 continents. Chuck and his partner Dave Mortenson worked in the 1990s turning distressed clubs into profitable businesses, and realized that they could be streamlining their offerings to cater to the actual needs of their clients and using technology to provide 24/7 access to clients. Thus, Anytime Fitness was born, and today, Chuck is known as one of the industry's most inspiring influencers and heartfelt leaders.

Building a great gym brand is not about the hardware like treadmills and top notch equipment, but about the software of emotion, listening and caring. How has Chuck managed to maintain this culture of empathy across all of his franchise locations? He dives into the role of purpose, and why it’s so important to harness the power of technology to provide the best customer experience possible. Tune in to find out more about how Chuck has scaled culture, and what lies ahead for this incredible brand and its founder.

"At the end of the day, this is not about the hardware of treadmills, it's really about the software of emotion and caring and listening and empathy." — Chuck Runyon

Highlighted key topics discussed:

Chuck Runyon first gives a verbal tour of the campus. [4:58] Chuck shares where he started and how he got to where he is today. [6:52] By the end of 2019, Anytime Fitness will have franchises on all 7 continents. [7:32] Chuck has made it his mission to cultivate and encourage emotional expression, which he talks about in his book, Love Work. He explains more about what that means. [9:09] How does empathy play into the club experience? [11:55] Chuck talks more about where Anytime Fitness is today, and how it fits into the broader fitness industry. [13:21] Chuck explains how he scales culture and how it impacts communication. [16:21] Technology should be the delivery system of the experience, not the experience itself. [17:28] Chuck describes what the future looks like for Anytime Fitness. [18:34] Chuck shares the elements to focus on for up and coming club owners or those who want to take their club to the next level. [23:36] There's great power in purpose.

Resources:

ABC Financial Services

Kelly Card

Chuck Runyon

Anytime Fitness

Self Esteem Brands, LLC

Love Work, by Chuck Runyon and David Mortensen

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