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Californian redefines fitness and fatherhood in Manila

In recent years, the country has seen resurgence in the field of fitness and this can largely be attributed to the entrance of Anytime Fitness in the Philippines in 2014.

With more than 51 branches open and 90-plus territories sold, Anytime Fitness is now the number one gym operator in the country. The success of the franchise in the country is mainly due to the fact that the gym prides itself in being open 24/7 and provides a ‘non-intimidating’ environment where members have the freedom to be completely themselves while achieving their health and fitness goals.

I know because my mom, who is in her late 50s, was the founding member of the gym’s BF Homes branch and spends most of her days in its many classes from Zumba to High Intesity while also catering to millennials such as me and my younger brother proving that Anytime Fitness has something for everyone.

The man responsible for bringing the franchise to the Philippines is the visionary Johannes Raadsma, who I briefly met through my mom in the earlier days of Anytime Fitness.

A California native, Johannes has roots in the Philippines when his family, led by his father who works in the mining industry, moved to Manila when he was 12.

“Fidel Ramos was president, BGC was a grassland, and there was only Greenbelt 1,” he recalled.

In 2001, Johannes moved to Sydney, Australia where he completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Macquarie University. He then worked with Samsung Electronics in Australia but always had the desire to “be my own boss and live life on my own terms.”

It was in 2013 when Johannes went on a journey to identify what vehicle would make him fulfill that dream of his.

“With more than 400 gyms in Australia at that time, Anytime Fitness was widely successful but with little opportunity for people looking to enter the franchise system, I looked to the emerging markets to assess the opportunity and because of my history with the Philippines and the fact that my father was back in Manila, I researched if Filipinos would welcome the service provided by Anytime Fitness. With all indicators pointing to the right direction, I sold everything I owned in Australia, strapped up my shoe laces really tight, and took the risk that would bring the world’s leading gym franchise to the Philippines,” he lengthily related.

The move, to say at the very least, was a successful one, and glad of country’s positive response to the brand. “I am very humbled and grateful that we get to provide the opportunity and are right in the thick of a shifting paradigm in the country. We have generated over 600 jobs, a platform for entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams, and an environment for tens of thousands of members to run after and achieve their health and fitness goals.”

Aside from the success of the franchise, Johannes also took on the role of “Chief Executive Father” in the last year.

“It’s the best job I have had to date! It couldn’t have come at a better time, with the business at a maturing stage. I am grateful to be able to balance my time between the grind and family grind, it’s not something that all fathers get the chance to do,” he beamed.

Being a father has also made him a better entrepreneur, he noted. “It is mutually beneficial both personally and professionally, the disciplines and attributes that you build in being a father are all transferable to being a better entrepreneur.”

When asked what things about life he would share with his son when he is older, Johannes was quick to say that while fatherhood is a spiritual and physical journey – declaring “Never will have a dad bod!” – that he is still figuring out, he does have a few things to share with his son,

“I would tell him to keep asking questions, to not settle for anything less than outstanding, to believe that nothing is impossible, to be kind, humble, and to always be grateful. The secret to success is to figure out what you want, why you want it, and obsess about it until you have it. With enough desire and persistence, the sky is the limit.”


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