By Dave Ficere

You probably know the feeling of walking into a new gym and immediately feeling intimated and out of place among people with ripped muscles, flat stomachs and serious gym cred. “What am I doing here?” you may have asked yourself.

If that’s you, then it may be time to check out Anytime Fitness on Happy Valley Road at The Shops at Norterra. “Our goal,” owner Brad Smith says, “is to make new people – especially those new to exercise or the gym experience – feel welcome and not intimated by others who are more accustomed to working out.”

Many people feel intimidated walking into a gym,” Smith says, and our goal at Anytime Fitness is to make it comfortable for people through the atmosphere we create. And that sets us apart from other gyms that might be more geared toward the hardcore weight lifter.” Smith says he is big on education and the gym offers new clients three free coaching sessions to customize their workout goals and get them off to a great start.

The focus [of a gym] should be on health and wellness and not on being a social center or place to hang out,” Smith says. While Anytime’s fitness classes do provide the opportunity to get to know others, they are another way to make people feel welcome and not intimidated. “These classes are designed to be stepping stones to further fitness,” Smith says as well as helping people find others to work out with if they need that additional motivation.

Such small group training is the latest trend in fitness, Smith says. “It is structured for allowing for a great workout in a short amount of time. It’s less expense than one-on-one training, but offers more than just a gym membership where you are totally on your own.”

A typical workout group at Anytime consists of one instructor for about every five people, except for the larger Zumba classes. Because the classes are viewed as building blocks, Smith says staff and instructors encourage members to take what they learn in their classes and apply them on their own.

A lifelong advocate for exercise and working out, Smith says he never thought he’d have the resources to own his own gym and when the opportunity came up in 2010 he jumped at it. “I’m really passionate about working out and am fortunate to be able to turn that into a business that benefits other people,” he says. “One of the things I tell new members, is that you have to have exercise among your top three priorities or it just won’t happen.”

Smith says he researched a lot of companies before choosing the Anytime Fitness franchise opportunity. “They were [in 2010] and continue to be one of the fastest growing businesses in general and in the fitness industry specifically,” he says, making the decision to jump on board an easy one.

Some of the perks of the Anytime Fitness membership include having club access 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week, with state-of-the-art security that makes it safe to work out at any hour of the day or night, accommodating all different work schedules.

And, what about the rap on fitness clubs for over pricing and the up-selling some clubs are famous for? Anytime Fitness offers membership for $34 a month that includes everything, with no enrollment fees and no up selling. “We offer a very good and competitive price for what you get, which is a clean, comfortable and easy to use club with a lot of amenities,” Smith says. Plus, membership is good at all Anytime Fitness locations.

We’ve designed the gym for people who are brand new to fitness,” Smith says, “and I don’t hire people that don’t work out, because they will have a hard time promoting exercise if they don’t do it themselves,” he adds. New members get three free training sessions, and the gym is offering the first month free for new members during the month of July.

So, if you’re looking for a non-intimating place to get your exercise program started or restarted, check out Anytime Fitness. They’re located at 2310 W. Happy Valley Rd. Suite 1019 at The Shops at Norterra. For more information, call them at (623) 581-5646 or visit their website at