The bread-and-butter of Entrepreneur magazine’s annual Franchise 500 list is, of course, its list of the top 500 franchises in the country.

However, the magazine also produces other noteworthy lists, and the fitness industry is well represented on those as well this year.

Jazzercise Inc., Carlsbad, CA, once again topped fitness franchise companies with its No. 17 ranking, one spot higher than its Franchise 500 ranking last year. Jazzercise also is No. 4 on Entrepreneur’s low-cost franchises list, No. 4 on the top home-based franchises list, No. 15 on the America’s top global franchises list and No. 21 on the fastest-growing franchises list.

Other fitness club companies appeared on multiple lists as well. Anytime Fitness, Hastings, MN, is close behind Jazzercise at No. 18 on the Franchise 500 list, 25 spots higher than last year’s ranking. Anytime also is No. 13 on the fastest-growing list and No. 16 on the America’s top global list.

Snap Fitness, Chanhassen, MN, is No. 33 on the Franchise 500 list, No. 27 on the fastest-growing franchises list and No. 31 on the America’s top global list.

“Despite the current economic conditions, the fitness industry is thriving, and we have proven to have the right business model to guide our franchise system toward success,” Peter Taunton, founder and CEO of Snap Fitness, said in response to the rankings. “Our ability to present our franchise owners with an easy-to-manage franchise opportunity and members with an affordable and convenient workout option is a testament to what set us apart from the competition.”

Gold’s Gym International, Irving, TX, is No. 72 on the Franchise 500 list and No. 62 on the America’s top global list. Planet Fitness, Newington, NH, is No. 81 on the Franchise 500 list, No. 34 on the fastest-growing list and No. 68 on the America’s top global list.

Appearing on the Franchise 500 list for the first time are RetroFitness, Colts Neck, NJ, (No. 236) and Get in Shape for Women, Needham, MA (No. 401). RetroFitness is No. 10 on the top new ranking list and No. 83 on the fastest-growing list. Get in Shape for Women is No. 35 on the top new ranking list and No. 77 on the fastest-growing list.

“This is the first year RetroFitness has been eligible to participate based on number of years operating, and this high-level recognition out of the gate speaks volumes for the brand,” Eric Casaburi, founder and CEO of RetroFitness, said. “To be recognized as one of the fastest-growing franchise systems while ranking in the top half of the list—we really couldn’t be more proud of our successes. We look forward to much more to come.”

My Gym Children’s Fitness Center, Sherman Oaks, CA, is No. 361 on the Franchise 500 list and No. 82 on the low-cost franchises list.

Only franchise companies that provided full franchise disclosure documents (FDDs) or Canadian disclosure documents and whose information was verified by Entrepreneur could receive a listing in the magazine. In order to be eligible for the list, a franchise company must have a minimum of 10 units with at least one based in the United States, must be seeking new franchisees in the United States and cannot be in Chapter 11 at the time the ranking is compiled.

All companies are judged by objective measures of a franchise operation, regardless of size, according to Entrepreneur. Financial strength and stability, growth rate and size of the system are the most important factors that the magazine takes into consideration. Other criteria include the number of years a company has been in business and the length of time it has been franchising, as well as start-up costs, litigation, percentage of terminations and whether the company provides financing.


2011 Franchise 500 Rank (fitness franchises only)
17. Jazzercise Inc.
18. Anytime Fitness
33. Snap Fitness
72. Gold’s Gym International
81. Planet Fitness
236. RetroFitness
283. The Little Gym
329. Fun Bus Fitness Fun on Wheels
337. Personal Training Institute
361. My Gym Children’s Fitness Center
401. Get in Shape for Women
447. Fitness Together
498. LA Boxing Franchise Corp.

Fastest-Growing Franchises
13. Anytime Fitness
21. Jazzercise Inc.
27. Snap Fitness
34. Planet Fitness
77. Get in Shape for Women
83. RetroFitness

Low-Cost Franchises
4. Jazzercise Inc.
82. My Gym Children’s Fitness Center

Top Home-based Franchises
4. Jazzercise Inc.

America’s Top Global Franchises
15. Jazzercise Inc.
16. Anytime Fitness
31. Snap Fitness
62. Gold’s Gym
68. Planet Fitness

Top New Ranking
10. RetroFitness
35. Get in Shape for Women