Aussie fitness entrepreneur Luke Guanlao has just acquired the master Anytime Fitness franchise license throughout the Asia-Pacific. 

Luke Guanlao, a Sydney lawyer-turned-entrepreneur was able to sign the deal last month as he looks to take advantage of the industry disruption caused by COVID-19. 

Prior to the deal, Guanlao had stakes in Anytime Fitness across Australia, the Philippines and Malaysia and had desires to grow the business by investing in other branches across Asia.

Ultimately, Guanlao saw Asia Pacific as the best step forward to propel the franchise. To have purview over Asia Pacific meant having the scale to grow the business even faster that it already has.” 

“Aside from the opportunity for Anytime Fitness Asia and our holding company, Inspire Brands Asia, I see this as an opportunity for our franchisees as well to have their own cross-country franchises.”

Luke Guanlao
Luke Guanlao, COO of Anytime Fitness Asia (Image: Freddy Morales)

Guanlao said the Anytime team carried out a year of negotiations before the landmark deal could be made. Now, he sees the disruptions to the initial negotiations as a benefit to the expansion of Anytime Fitness across Asia. 

“When the opportunity arose, it was pre-COVID-19, but we pushed through with the negotiations both despite and because of the pandemic, on the strength of the brand, our own managed services arm, and what we know will be the increasing importance of fitness in people’s everyday lives.”


Asset diversification

Ultimately, Guanlao believes Asia-Pacific jurisdictions are an attractive market for Australian investors to diversify their investments. 

“Quite a number of Aussies have already made their way to Asia and have invested in the franchise across our different countries. As part of a portfolio, Asia is the future, and owning a business in the region is looking toward the future; owning a fitness business is ensuring that the future is profitable.”

Now, Guanlao is rolling out opportunities to apply the intellectual property he’s developed to add value in new markets. 

“My experience as a franchisee in Australia has translated itself into this Master Franchising business, covering all areas of growth,” he said.

“But beyond expanding the footprint, my partners and I bring operational prowess to the table, combining our experience and intellectual property in club operations, legal, support, and marketing to elevate the member, staff, and franchisee experience at Anytime Fitness Asia.”

As the global pandemic continues, Guanlao and his team are finding new ways to ensure a seamless experience for Anytime Fitness members, catering to the demands of online and at-home workouts. 

“The goal is to not just be anytime but also anywhere and for anyone. Fitness has gone beyond the four walls of the gym to our homes, in our pockets,” Guanlao said.

“And even amidst the pandemic we are training our staff to expand their skills and knowledge to adapt to these changing demands, to ensure that we are equipped to address our members’ needs before they are even aware of it.”