Burning the midnight oil – and calories

Anytime Fitness is opening a new location in addition to four other spots around Richmond, including one on Busy Street.

Anytime Fitness is opening a new location in addition to four other spots around Richmond, including one at 11532 Busy St. Photos courtesy of Anytime Fitness.

A gym for athletes that never sleep is coming to Forest Hill.

Manish and Harleen Gupta plan to open an Anytime Fitness franchise at 7101 Forest Hill Ave. at The Shops at Stratford Hills. Anytime Fitness franchises are open 24 hours a day.

The Guptas – both of whom work in IT at Capital One – have a six-year lease on the 4,800-square-foot space.

“The market in that area is currently underserved,” Manish Gupta said of Forest Hill. “There’s less competition.”

Anytime Fitness new space

Manish and Harleen Gupta will open a new Anytime Fitness franchise location at The Shops at Stratford Hills.

Gupta said it is going to take about $400,000 to open what will the couple’s first business. They are financing the venture using personal savings and a Small Business Administration loan through Wells Fargo.

Anytime Fitness was founded in Minneapolis in 2002. It now has 2,007 clubs in North America and 555 internationally. There are 53 locations open in Virginia with more in works. The Forest Hill location will be the Richmond area’s fifth. The other four are in Glen Allen, Tuckahoe, Midlothian, and Chester. Gupta said another location is slated for Ashland.

“We want to have a franchise business so we could get help from the franchise company,” Gupta said. “This sounded like something we could do while working full-time.

While the Guptas try to establish themselves in Richmond gym market, another local fitness brand is looking to launch satellite locations.

Endorphin Fitness, a Richmond-based triathlon training company, expanded in the spring to Hampton Roads and is getting ready to launch in Washington, D.C. in the fall.

Using its 7,500-square-foot facility at 8908 Patterson Ave. as a headquarters, Endorphin founder Michael Harlow said the company has hired two coaches and an assistant coach in Hampton Roads who are currently training 30 youth triathletes and has an adult program is in the works.

“Over the past year it’s kind of plateaued with adults, but with youths it has exploded,” Harlow said. “That’s really why the first piece of our expansion is youth.”

Endorphin Fitness is expanding with new trainers. Photo courtesy of Endorphin Fitness.

Endorphin Fitness is expanding into Hampton Roads and Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Endorphin Fitness.

Harlow, 32, launched Endorphin in 2005 and moved that year to the Patterson Avenue building. The facility, which it leases, is divided into specialized machines for triathlon training, a standard gym, and a retail shop.

The company caters to training competitive and amateur youth and adult triathletes, but also has clients who are just looking to get fit.

“We’re outgrowing this space,” Harlow said of the Richmond facility. “We’d also like to have some ownership over our physical location down the road.”

Today, Endorphin has 20 employees and about 400 clients. The company also hosts triathlons that draw competitors from across the country and can be used to help athletes qualify to be on the U.S. national team.

Endorphin training programs can be done individually or in groups. Trainees can also work long-distance over the phone and online with Endorphin coaches. Monthly contracts for online or in-person training cost between $125 and $300.

Harlow said he hopes to start training programs up and down the Mid-Atlantic, recruiting client bases of about 150 that would warrant opening another facility.

“I believe in the next three years, we’ll have a physical space in Hampton Roads and in D.C.,” Harlow said. “We want to see where the athletes are.”

Endorphin’s growth comes during a rise in area niche fitness gyms, such as CrossFit, Antigravity, yoga studios, and others.

Harlow still thinks there is room in the market for triathlon training.

“I’m sure we’re competing for fitness dollars,” Harlow said. “I wouldn’t say it’s direct competition.”

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