A Sport & Health sale has paved the way for D.C.’s largest fitness empire


Sport & Health has 23 gym locations throughout D.C., Maryland and Virginia, including this club in Gainesville, Va. (Sport & Health)

As teens growing up in Northern Virginia, brothers Kirk and John Galiani used to sneak into the Sport & Health in Tysons Corner to lift weights and play basketball.

Thirty years later — after building up an impressive fitness industry résumé that includes a stint as owners of Gold’s Gym International — the duo is ready to play a whole lot more. Their company US Fitness (which operates the Crunch and Onelife gym brands in D.C. and Virginia) just acquired the 23-location Sport & Health chain.

“We’ve been brainstorming ways to make them even better,” Kirk says. Millions of dollars have been earmarked for renovations and new equipment, and changes will start to roll out within the next month or two, he adds.

The sale won’t affect the December opening of the chain’s forthcoming location in Rockville’s Pike & Rose development, says Mark Fisher, who was CEO of Sport & Health and is now CEO of US Fitness. He views the luxurious, 32,000-square-foot club as a sign of what’s to come for the newly bulked-up company.

“We’re putting the best of what we have in that location. It’s the tip of the iceberg,” Fisher says.

Each of US Fitness’ three brands will maintain its own identity — upscale Sport & Health, boutique-y Crunch and affordable Onelife (which will soon open an Alexandria location) — Kirk says. But the pooling of resources and fitness expertise will elevate the experience in all of the clubs, he says.

Despite the mixed results of other recent gym deals (see the Yelp reviews for the gyms listed in the box below), the Galianis say members should see this one as a slam dunk.

The club buyers

Thought your last workout was hard? Try keeping up with D.C.’s recent spate of gym sales. v.h.

June 2013: Gold’s Gym buys locally owned chain Fitness First. Just one of the 18 locations (the Bethesda club) retains the name Fitness First.

January 2014: Results Gym’s downtown location is taken over by LA Fitness in a one-off deal.

July 2014: Equinox buys the D.C. location of Sports Club/LA (along with clubs in four other cities). There’s no timeline yet for changes.

 

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Vicky Hallett is a MisFits columnist and the Fit editor for Express.
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