Philippine Daily Inquirer

Lawyer finds career in fitness


It’s New Year’s Day and most likely, most Filipinos have resolved to lead a more healthy lifestyle in 2017. Those looking for inspiratio­n can turn to Luke Guanlao, co-director of Anytime Fitness Philippine­s, legal counsel of Anytime Fitness Asia and franchisee of 17 Anytime Fitness clubs in Australia and in the Philippine­s.

The 34-year-old FilipinoAu­stralian is a fitting ambassador for the healthy life. He starts by talking about his own routine when he works out at his purple-themed gyms.

“Exercise is necessary every day even for just 20 minutes. A mix of cardio and weights is always a good base line,” he says.

A lawyer by profession, Guanlao has over of 10 years of experience practicing law in Asia-Pacific.

Although a passionate lawyer, the business of fitness pulled him into another direction.

He was always into healthy living, he says, and this led him to his first Anytime Fitness franchise in Western Sydney, Australia.

“My brother and I were looking into investing into businesses that allowed us to maintain our jobs in the corporate world and wedecided to go with the industry that that we were passionate about, which is the fitness industry,” Guanlao recalls.

That gym broke all preselling records, and is still ranked one of the top 10 among Anytime Fitness’ clubs globally out of over 3,500 branches.

The success of their first venture led to the opening of another branch in Western Sydney, and then he decided to branch out to the Philippine­s.

An entreprene­ur at heart, he put up his private investment company, Good Capital Group (GCG), which is the corporate owner of his fitness clubs, and other businesses which include a boutique conveyanci­ng practice, Sydney Property Conveyanci­ng, Eckardt Guanlao (EG) Consulting, a recruitmen­t agency specializi­ng in the legal and accounting sector, and Goodkeeper, a modern and profession­al bookkeepin­g services company.

GCG also owns master franchisee rights as a sub-regional agent in Anytime Fitness Philippine­s.

His first Anytime Fitness club in the Philippine­s is located in Cebu, which is a hub for BPO offices and employees who want to go work out when they leave their graveyard shift.

“My roots are from here in the Philippine­s. My parents are Filipino, and my father founded the Davao Doctors Hospital. Since I am a lawyer and cannot heal the sick, the best I can do to follow in my dad’s footsteps is to build fitness clubs to help people live better lives and get to a healthier place overall,” he says.

Business is doing good, with 11 of his 17 franchises up and running, he reports. The latest ones are in Abreeza Mall Davao, Araneta Cubao, Eastwood Mall and Bacoor, Vertis North and BGC Uptown are to be launched in the coming months.

He maintains that the success comes from the point of difference that Anytime Fitness offers. Foremost of this is its convenienc­e. It is the first 24/7 gym concept to open in the Philippine­s, where members can drop in at any hour and be able to work toward their fitness goals. Another differenti­ation is their warm and welcoming atmosphere, which he notes is very rare in a gym environmen­t. He adds that quality equipment also plays a part in their value propositio­n, which is why they offer state-of-theart Precor machines distribute­d locally by Finix Corp.

For all its appealing offerings, membership rates are competitiv­e. A 12-month membership is at P2,500 a month with a P1,000 joining fee.

A P2,500 payment for the access key allows members to work out at any of the 3,500 branches all over the world.

Anytime Fitness is confident that with its offerings, it will eventually become the largest gym franchise in the Philippine­s.

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