“Projects move from your head to your heart to your feet.”

Regional vice president Dan Managan explains his capital-improvement work for Crunch Fitness’s West Coast locations and dispenses advice for those looking to enter the athletic-club sector

As regional vice president, you oversee the overall operations and profitability at the 17 Crunch Fitness locations on the West Coast. What current projects do you have under way?
It’s been a very productive year overall implementing capital-improvement projects in the current facilities. Most recently, we completed an extensive renovation of our San Mateo location [see sidebar on p. 148], and we are in the process of solidifying the 2015 plan for our current locations.

Crunch Fitness

San Mateo

Last year, Managan oversaw the $750,000 remodel of Crunch Fitness’s San Mateo, CA, facility, which was acquired from another fitness outfit. Crunch saw an opportunity to create a state-of-the-art facility in an important location for membership growth, and its renovation received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Highlights of the remodel included:

• The addition of a new spin studio that doubled the amount of bikes available
• The addition of a new group fitness studio
• The replacement of several lines of strength equipment
• The introduction of Personal IQ training that creates a personalized fitness regimen for each client
• The adjustment of the facility to make the traffic flow for members better
• The expansion of the cardio exercise area
• Improvements to the fitness floor to make room for a large personal-training area
• An upgrade of the interior paint and graphics

What have your improvements entailed? Are you reinvesting mostly in the facilities or their equipment?
It’s a mixture of both. In terms of the improvement to facilities, we completed locker-room remodels, expansion of the fitness floor to provide functional training, plus new paint and signage. On the equipment side, we’ve made significant investments to update our selectorized and cardio machines to ensure we have the best lines of equipment.

How does Crunch establish its reinvestment strategy?
We look at what our priorities are. We look at our current locations to evaluate and assess what needs to be upgraded. I would say that we are committed to a significant reinvestment in our product. Things are consistently evolving, especially in terms of technology. You’re either on board or you’re not as a fitness operator.

It seems that there are always new trends in the fitness industry. How do you decide which to adopt and which to pass up?
We have a great team of fitness trendsetters at Crunch. They focus on bringing in cutting-edge classes, personal training, equipment, and all things that touch the member experience. Right now, we’re working on some new apparel lines. We are also offering Crunch Live, which is our online sampling of group fitness classes, so [that] members and nonmembers have access to our cutting-edge classes remotely.

How does Crunch Fitness differentiate itself from other athletic clubs?
I would point back to the trendsetting in our group-fitness department. We are known for being the first. For example, Crunch was the first location that offered spinning. Crunch was the first brand to introduce pole-dancing classes in a fitness forum and anti-gravity yoga, all of which are being offered in many health clubs now. We are second to none in exercise innovation.

What have been the major changes you have seen at Crunch since starting your position?
I would have to say the most significant change is the growth of our brand. In 2009, we had 18 locations operating in the US. By the end of this year, we’ll have over 120 operating. We launched the Crunch franchise division both within the US and internationally. That’s where we’re seeing a huge amount of growth and penetration into different markets.

Crunch Fitness's San Mateo location.
Crunch Fitness’s San Mateo location.

What brought you to your current position?
I actually started in the fitness industry in 1990, working part-time at a fitness club while attending high school. I went on to get a degree in kinesiology and nutrition. From 1998 to 2005, I was with Bally Total Fitness. I went from general manager to district manager to area VP. It was the catapult that took my career to the next level.

Success story!
It really is. I fell in love with the industry.

How has your approach to your work evolved as you’ve changed positions in the industry?
My approach is to put that same passion and focus into my employees that I used to put into my personal-training clients so [that] they can grow and become better. You truly are only as good as your people.

Dan Managan
Dan Managan

What advice would you offer for others that are growing in leadership positions?
I would say, put your employees first. Invest in your teams, not just telling them how to do things but actually teaching and showing them. Be consistent and see projects through. Too many times, I see leaders that have a great vision, but they don’t take the time to plan and focus on the execution.

I always say, make sure your projects move from your head to your heart to your feet. We know what we need to do, and we know what we want to do in our hearts, but there are always excuses and reasons that can get in the way of executing. If you want to be a good leader, make the decision with every project you undertake to take it down to your feet and run.