Next week, construction begins on a new 4,400-square-foot Anytime Fitness in south Boulder.

The club, which is on track to open in May on the corner of Foothills and Baseline, will join a sea of gyms in Boulder, from full-service fitness clubs to recreation centers, from niche clubs like climbing gyms to CrossFit gyms and yoga studios.

But in a city that seems saturated with fitness facilities, Boulder's Anytime Fitness owner Greg Plavidal said he's willing to bet there's room for one more.

"There's so many clubs in town, I must be crazy to open another one," said Plavidal, a 38-year-old University of Colorado alum. "But the more I got to know (Anytime Fitness') model and vision, this is something we do need. It's a great opportunity for folks who don't feel as comfortable in other settings."

Plavidal said he began thinking about how intimidating it can be to workout next to professional athletes, who flock to Boulder for training, coaching and sports science. Boulder lacked a safe space for the "everyman" to workout without feeling inferior or self-conscious, he said.

Boulder fitness consultant Shannon Fable, a 15-year industry vet, talked with Plavidal about Anytime Fitness' place in the market as he developed a plan for the gym.

She divided the marketplace into four categories: "big-box" full-service clubs, low-cost competitors, convenience-based models and studios. Boulder didn't already have a convenience-based model like Anytime Fitness, Fable said. As long as the gym sticks to its core model and goals, it will succeed, she said.


"Could there be too many big boxes in the area? Yes," she said. "Could there be too many low-cost competitors? Yes. But Anytime fits a completely different space. I don't think there's ever enough gyms as long as they're different."

The 24-hour gym will open in the Meadows on the Parkway shopping center this spring.

Boulder already has two 24-hour gyms: Ironworks Fitness at 4660 N. Broadway, and 24 Hour Fitness at 2900 Iris Ave.

Personal Trainer Scott Novickis, right, works out with Elissa Burdick, of Boulder, on Wednesday at RallySport Health and Fitness Club in Boulder.
Personal Trainer Scott Novickis, right, works out with Elissa Burdick, of Boulder, on Wednesday at RallySport Health and Fitness Club in Boulder. (Jeremy Papasso)

Mountains' Edge Fitness owner Shannon Derby said she wondered if Anytime Fitness would find its own South Boulder-niche.

In the 27 years the Derbys worked in the Boulder fitness community, she said the industry has gone from lots of full-service gyms to more specialty, niche facilities.

"In theory, it would meet the needs of people who just want to go whenever and get their workout," Derby said. "Perhaps that will fill another niche for Boulder, but it is starting to get pretty questionable as to what point is enough."

RallySport general manager Erin Carson worked with Plavidal when he was a personal trainer at RallySport years ago. She said RallySport's emphasis has been on customer service and staying local for the last 30 years, since Boulder residents are "discerning" and have so many options.

Boulder Chamber of Commerce President John Tayer said he wasn't surprised another gym had plans to open in Boulder, which prides itself on an "active lifestyle." He added he was confident that the fitness industry knew its own market and knew whether there was a need for another gym.

"I would leave it to those folks actively involved in that business to understand where there's a need and to pursue it," he said. "I'm sure they gave some thought to this."

For some, it's not a question of which gym to join, but which trail to hike. Boulder resident Eric Budd wondered why anyone would pay for a gym membership when the city and surrounding areas provide a natural workout setting, on bike paths and trails.

"To me, it would be $600 a year or something (to join a gym)," Budd said. "You can buy a reasonable bike for that. I can stay fit by being outside."

--Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.