A team that includes the man who founded Lifestyle Fitness in Lakeland and built it to 55 gyms is bringing Crunch Fitness to Lakeland with plans to open a $2 million, 24,000-square-foot facility on South Florida Avenue.

Geoff Dyer, 66, is joined by Vince Julien (who co-founded Shapes fitness centers), Tony Scrimale and Jeff Dotson as owners of the Lakeland franchise expected to open in January at 5218 S. Florida Ave, across the highway from Outback Steakhouse.

“We are delighted to bring the amazing Crunch experience to Lakeland, where I first launched Lifestyle Family Fitness in 1982,” Dyer said via a news release. “At Crunch our members get access to a $2 million gym with $1 million in equipment for memberships starting at $9.95 month.”

Amenities include cardio and strength training equipment, half-hour circuit training, personal training, a functional training area with indoor turf, a 2,700 square-foot dedicated group fitness studio, tanning beds and sunless spray options.

The first 500 members signing up in Lakeland will be considered founding members and receive a free T-shirt and discounts, according to the news release.

When Dyer ran Lifestyles and Julien ran Shapes, they were friendly competitors, meeting every few months to share best practices, Dyer told The Business Observer, a Sarasota publication. Julien obtained Crunch Fitness rights for Tampa Bay and invited Dyer to participate.

Dyer talks about the journey from Lifestyles Fitness to Crunch in a 43-minute audio interview with the St. Pete Catalyst.

The Tampa Bay team expects to expand from 13 locations in the multi-county region to 30, Dyer told the Sarasota Herald Tribune in May.

Headquartered in New York, Crunch boasts 1.3 million members in 300 gyms in 29 states, Puerto Rico and four countries.

Dyer has returned to his Florida base after opening gyms in Ohio in the aftermath of Lifestyle Fitness’ acquisition by LA Fitness in 2012.

The original Lifestyle location at Orange Street and Bartow Road has been converted into the headquarters for Lakeland-based Qgiv, a company that facilitates online donations for nonprofits.

“Lakeland was a perfect starting point for us,” Dyer told The Ledger in 2007. “It was a smaller city; it looked like competition wasn’t very strong; and it was actually a great spot.”

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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