Interview: Anytime Fitness CEO Chuck Runyon & CSO Brian Zehetner Discuss Their New Book “Working Out Sucks”

Anytime Fitness CEO, Chuck Runyon and Chief Science Operator, Brian Zehetner joined me recently to discuss the book they co-authored titled "Working Out Sucks." As leaders in the fitness industry, Anytime Fitness was recently ranked #11 among all franchises and #1 among fitness franchises in Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2012 Franchise 500 List. 100% of the book profits are being donated to the 'Limbs for Life' charity.


Chuck Runyon CEO anytime fitness brian zehetner chief science officer"Working Out Sucks" Co-authors, Chuck Runyon, CEO at Anytime Fitness; Brian Zehetner, CSO at Anytime Fitness




Candace Rose: Chuck, we'll start with you. Can you tell us about your new book "Working Out Sucks" and what inspired it?

Chuck Runyon: "The book 'Working Out Sucks' is really kind of a common sense, no-nonsense tough love approach to helping people be active, and I'm CEO at Anytime Fitness. We have over 1700 clubs in the country but every single day we get excuses on why people don't want to exercise, so I guess I understand better than almost anyone that for most people, working out sucks. So we hope that this inspires them to take action and be healthy."


Candace Rose: Do you think people are intimidated by working out or are they just looking for a quick fix?

Chuck Runyon: "Well, I think it's a combination. I think it's intimidation; I know people are busy, I get that. But they are looking for a quick fix and look, our industry for decades has kind of promised this quick fix solution- this 'magic pill' or they'll show someone smiling on a treadmill like it's the best part of their day. I don't know about you but when I go to a club no one's smiling or laughing on a treadmill, and it's not the best part of their day. I mean, even our core members who use the club often still may not like working out but they do it because of what it does for them and the rest of their life."


Anytime Fitness working out sucksAnytime Fitness club members working out.


Candace Rose: Brian, as a leader in nutrition, how big of a role does eating right play in losing weight? 

Brian Zehetner: "Certainly a bigger role than even exercise does. You know, I mean nutrition is typically associated with the actual weight loss process and then exercise is really a bit better at helping you to maintain a significant weight loss. So you know we have a lot of great tips in the book, and hints and things. You know, ultimately I think a lot of the books on the market, they've kind of; they have this gimmicky approach to everything and so we try to be proactive with some of the chapter titles and obviously the title of the book, but then also provide real science based evidence and I think we did a good job."


Candace Rose: Well, it seems like everywhere you look they're talking about cleanses and detoxes and that it's the smart way to lose weight. 

Brian Zehetner: "Yeah, I actually mention that in one of the breakout sections of the book. I talk about cleanses specifically and I say you know, typically, unfortunately what comes out is often what went in in the first place. And so they're really not the bastion to health and wellness like everybody thinks and that your colon and the rest of your intestinal tract do a great job of cleansing the body."


Candace Rose: What are some of the common myths that keep people from losing weight and reaching their goals?

Brian Zehetner: "Yeah, well there's a lot to choose from. Take water for example- typically we think we have to drink eight 8oz. glasses a day and that we should all do the same thing when in actuality a 120 pound person doesn't need as much water as a 220 pound person or even in the exercise realm, there's this notion that we should work out an hour a day five or six days a week to get fit and that may be true for some but ultimately we're trying to get people off the couch. We're not trying to recreate athletes."


Chuck Runyon: "And if I can add, fitness and nutrition are critical but nothing happens until you're motivated, until you can create and sustain a habit. There's a section in the book where we talk about behavior change and how to make a plan and to stick with it. I mean all this stuff, here's tools, but it doesn't work unless you're willing to make a plan and stick to it."


Candace Rose: Speaking of plans, what advice do you have for beginners who are looking to start working out?

Brian Zehetner: "Well, we've included a 21 day plan in the book and I think it provides a great start for folks. I mean there's realistic meal plans and reasonable meal plans that you can create and real easy to cook. And then some fantastic workouts; they include a strength, cardio, flexibility and then you bundle that all together and you'll be on the path to health and wellness in no time."


Candace Rose: How can they prevent injuries?

Brian Zehetner: "You know there's a lot of different ways to do that. The best advice would be to just take it slowly. You know you have to know your capabilities and your personal fitness level. So if you literally are leading a very sedentary life then you have to take it step by step. Start with something basic like walking, and if you aren't accustomed to fitness there's still workouts in the book that you can do involving strength training, flexibility and things that will get your fitness a little bit further along. And then if you need additional help after that, then you can find a local expert in your community or use some online resources and things like that."


Anytime fitnessAnytime Fitness Gyms were recently named the #1 Fitness Franchise by Entrepreneur magazine


Candace Rose: Chuck, is it true that you'll be on an upcoming episode of "Secret Millionaire" on ABC?

Chuck Runyon: Yes, it is true. My partner and I, Dave Mortensen took an emotional journey over the summer and we will be featured on an upcoming episode of "Secret Millionaire". We're excited to share it. I can only say that it was a life changing experience. It gave us some blisters on our hands and hearts, so we're excited to share it."


Candace Rose: We're looking forward to it. Do you both have any additional information or tips you'd like to share?

Chuck Runyon: "First of all, you're not alone if you don't enjoy working out. You know, four out of five Americans don't work out often enough, so we hope that this book is going to help you find your motivation and trigger a new lifestyle. And also 100% of the book profits are donated to a charity called 'Limbs for Life', that provides prosthetics to those who can't afford them. So when you take action to get started to be healthy, you can also help someone else be active."


Anytime Fitness Book"Working Out Sucks" is available at, and Anytime Fitness gyms.


Candace Rose: Oh, that's amazing. Where can we go to find "Working Out Sucks"?

Brian Zehetner: "Yeah, you can get the book at any local Anytime Fitness facility. You can also get it at or obviously" 


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