Minnesota fitness center ranked No. 1 franchise by Entrepreneur magazine

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A Hastings-based gym franchise landed the No. 1 spot in Entrepreneur magazine's 2014 Franchise 500 list.

Anytime Fitness Inc., a 24-hour fitness facility founded in 2001, has grown to nearly 2,500 franchises with nearly 2 million members worldwide. The magazine says more than 1,500 locations are expected to open over the next five years.

"Anytime Fitness is just four walls and a treadmill, " Runyon says.

Twin Cities Business Magazine notes Anytime is a scaled-down version of clubs like Lifetime Fitness, offering only weight-training and aerobic equipment, along with changing areas and showers.

Runyon says the company's success is due to its focus on the lives of clients, employees and franchisees.

"We want people to grow and to say, 'Anytime made me a better person,'" Runyon told Entrepreneur. "Our top priorities are family, health, wealth and safety. Our franchisees improve their health, they feel better, they become better spouses, and they go to work every day and improve themselves."

The brand loyalty is evident on the bodies of many Anytime affiliates, not necessarily in the form of six-pack abs, but a small purple tattoo resembling the company's running-man logo has been inked on hundreds of gym members and employees.

For most, the tattoo represents a personal accomplishment like losing weight or starting a small business.

Entrepreneur releases the franchise ranking each year based on financial strength, stability, growth rate and size, according to TCB Mag.

Another Minnesota-based fitness franchise and Anytime competitor, SNAP Fitness, placed No. 44 on the list.

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