By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Allie Kruger, a 2007 graduate of Colfax High School, says that buying the Anytime Fitness franchise in Colfax is somewhat of a dream come true for her.
The business also is an opportunity for Kruger to develop a wellness program for Anytime members.
Kruger earned a degree in dietetics from UW-Stout and is employed at the hospital at Mayo Clinic Health System — Red Cedar in Menomonie.
“I became interested in dietetics because growing up, I was always a very chubby little girl. That was probably because my grandma lived just down the road, and she cooked with lard and sugar and butter. And I was the baby, so I was the spoiled child,” Kruger said.
“Between my eighth and ninth grade year, over the summer, I started exercising and eating pretty good, and I lost 30 pounds. I did that on my own. Since then, I’ve been interested in nutrition. Then my mom told me there was something called a ‘dietician’ that you could go to school for. I started looking for information and found out Stout (had a degree program). I knew that’s where I wanted to go. Once I started classes, I really liked it, so I stuck with it,” she said.
Kruger graduated from UW-Stout in December of 2012.
But how does being a dietician translate into owning an Anytime Fitness franchise?
Kruger works at the hospital as a department supervisor and a dietary technician.
“We help people with their diets and help them follow it and teach them about it. That’s why I want to work in preventative, to help people (avoid) chronic disease. At the hospital, you are treating what has already happened,” she said.
Kruger hopes that through a wellness program at Anytime Fitness, she can help people avoid those chronic diseases before they start.
Wellness programs can address heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, “almost every chronic disease can be helped with diet and exercise and maintaining a healthy weight, especially as you get older … I would rather help people with those things on the other end, before it happens,” Kruger explained.
“The fitness industry is really growing, especially in the health and wellness area. Insurance companies are learning — they would rather give money to help you prevent some of those things rather than treat them after you are sick,” she said.
Anytime Fitness has group fitness classes available six days per week.
“Those are really nice because you have the instructor there, telling you what to do every step of the way and you always get a great workout because you are sweating at the end,” Kruger said.
Yoga for both men and women also is very popular, she noted.
Anytime Fitness holds dance classes for kids too, for pre-k through second grade and third grade through eighth grade.
And then there’s the personal training.
“We have a lot of members who train for the bodybuilding shows. The trainer comes here and works with them,” Kruger said.
Many of the fitness classes are held early in the morning, which people find convenient because they can get their workout done for the day.
Anytime Fitness is very busy from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m., Kruger noted.
“A lot of people like to get it over with and then they don’t have to think about the rest of the day. Then 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. is the next busiest time. But it’s never so busy that you cannot get on a machine. And then there are other times you can have the whole place to yourself,” she said.
Some of the programs included at Anytime Fitness are the Holiday Holdout to help members maintain their weight during the holidays and the Silver Sneakers program, Kruger noted.
Anytime Fitness will receive new carpeting and new paint this spring, and along with it will come a “spirit wall” where people can sign their names, if they choose.
Kruger said she is hoping to do a grand re-opening once the updates are done.
“We like to do tours and have people come in so we can show them (what is available). And we encourage you to bring a friend. No one likes to work out alone. That way you have a work-out buddy,” she said.
“My vision for this place is to be a kind of community center. I like it that we have classes for kids and adults. I want everyone to be able to feel they can come here and be active. I want to get people in the community involved and active,” Kruger said.
To find out more information about Anytime Fitness in Colfax, visit www.anytimefitness.com and type in the ZIP code.
Anytime Fitness in Colfax has a Facebook page as well.