Crunch CEO Aims to Double Gyms in Next Decade

By Chloe Aiello

In the 30 years since Crunch Fitness opened its first gym in New York's East Village, the company has offered classes like high-intensity interval training and aerial yoga to countless members looking to get fit and stay fit. To remain competitive, Crunch has bulked up its fitness offerings and plans to more than double the number of locations in the next decade.

"We expect to open somewhere between 60 to 100 locations a year over the next five to 10 years," the Crunch CEO Keith Worts told Cheddar on Monday.

Since its founding in 1989, Crunch quickly became known for its focus on group fitness classes and an inclusive, "No Judgements" attitude, and has grown to more than 300 locations across 30 states and five countries. In its owned and franchised gyms, Crunch has attracted attention for some of its off-beat classes like "Abs, Thighs, and Gossip," which has traditionally been taught by a drag queen.

Crunch has replicated its core experience, even as the company grows, Worts said. As he looks to expand the Crunch globally, including gyms in Costa Rica and Panama, Worts said strong branding will be key.

"It's really important as you grow across the globe and across the U.S. that you focus on really the core contents of the brand and all the DNA that Crunch is all about which is fusing fun and fitness and taking that into a place that people can understand across the different platforms," Worts said.

Crunch has added new workouts and fitness support to the gym's signature group classes to compete for its share of the more than $30 billion a year that U.S. consumers spend on health clubs, according to Statista.

"If you walk inside of a Crunch today, it's 25,000 square feet. You're going to find HIIT studios, you're going to find group fitness classes, you're going to find spin studios, you're going to find cardio, free weights," Worts said.

He said that Crunch wants to offer an excellent value proposition by providing "everything the consumer is looking for," including digital and on-demand products.

"Our app actually syncs up with the [Apple] watch to track all your devices as well, so we partner with Fitbit and other workout programs that people use today and it's all synced up, and all that information is available to the consumer," Worts said.

Aside from helping members track their workouts, the Crunch app provides more than 100 online workouts through Crunch Live for gym members who would prefer to exercise from home.

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