24 Hour Fitness Worldwide, the world’s largest privately owned and operated fitness center chain, began as a one-club operation in 1983. From the start, 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide Chairman and visionary, Mark S. Mastrov, had a vision to make fitness a way of life by creating the ultimate in multi-sport fitness centers and making them affordable and accessible to people of all abilities and fitness levels.
By the end of 1994, that lone club had grown to more than 32 fitness centers in Northern California, giving birth to the 24 Hour Nautilus fitness chain. Convenient locations, the latest equipment, affordable pricing, knowledgeable staff and outstanding service – all available up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week – contributed to the company’s tremendous growth and success.
24 Hour Nautilus made headlines in 1994 when it partnered with investment banking firm McCown DeLeeuw & Co. Soon thereafter the Southern California based Family Fitness Centers chain was acquired and the name 24 Hour Fitness was born. 24 Hour Fitness has since grown to more than 385 clubs in 16 states and become the largest privately owned and operated fitness center chain in the United States and world.
Under Mastrov’s leadership, the company expanded to Asia in 2000 through the purchase of Ray Wilson’s California Fitness Centers, and currently operates facilities in four Asian countries. The company now boasts more than 3 million members in more than 385 clubs worldwide.
Beginning in 2000, 24 Hour Fitness further differentiated its business by partnering with five fitness superstars - Andre Agassi, Lance Armstrong, Jackie Chan, Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Shaquille O’Neal. During the last six years, 24 Hour Fitness embarked on these partnerships to advocate fitness and help reach the company’s mission of making fitness a way of life for everyone. These athlete partners embody what 24 Hour Fitness stands for: hard work, determination, a positive attitude and persistence while having fun along the way.
In 2004, 24 Hour Fitness became the first official fitness center sponsor of the 2004-2008 United States Olympic teams. The sponsorship grants memberships to selected U.S. Olympic hopefuls and includes upgrades to various U.S. Olympic Training Centers across the country. The first facility renovated was Colorado Springs, CO, followed by Lake Placid, NY and Chula Vista, CA.
Also in 2004, 24 Hour Fitness was ranked #1 in Club Industry’s Top 100 list. 24 Hour Fitness also had a remarkable showing making the Forbes Top 500 Largest Private Company List in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2005.
The 385+-club chain made its debut on reality television in 2004. 24 Hour Fitness worked closely with NBC on their new reality show, “The Biggest Loser,” which featured 12 overweight contestants competing to lose weight over several months. For the past three seasons, 24 Hour Fitness has built an onsite gym, including all state-of-the-art equipment, at the ranch where contestants live while competing on the program. The show continues to showcase 24 Hour Fitness' mission to make fitness a way of life for everyone, no matter what their fitness ability.
In May 2005, 24 Hour Fitness entered a partnership with the New York-based private equity firm Forstmann Little & Co. The $1.6 billion acquisition affirmed 24 Hour Fitness’ reputation as a leader in the fitness industry and gave Mastrov the capabilities to lead 24 Hour Fitness on a continued path of rapid growth and expansion.
New leadership joined the ranks in October 2006 when Carl C. Liebert III was named Chief Executive Officer of the rapidly growing fitness center company. To 24 Hour Fitness, Liebert brings extensive domestic and international retail experience essential for building on Mastrov’s legacy. Carl Liebert will continue to grow the company in current and new markets and provide new offerings to members and communities across the world.
Throughout its growth, 24 Hour Fitness has held fast to the founding mission: to make fitness a way of life for everyone.