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Anytime Fitness, a fast-growing 24-hour gym chain, is planning a major expansion in the Calumet Region, where it's looking to open nine new locations.

The Minnesota-based health and fitness club company says on its web site that it plans to open new gyms at 4831 E. Lincoln Highway, in Hobart; W. 61st Avenue and Broadway, in Merrillville; Indianapolis Boulevard and E. 165th Street, in Hammond; E 129th Street and Calumet Avenue, in Hammond; 757-761 Indian Boundary Road, in Chesterton; 821 Main St., in Munster; Calumet Avenue and Ridge Road, in Munster; 133rd Avenue and Parrish Avenue, in Cedar Lake; and Main Street and W. Exchange Street, in Crete. 

When all is said and done, Anytime Fitness may end up with more locations than any other gym chain in Northwest Indiana.

Franchisees, including the relatives Feras, Moe and Yusef Musleh, will open most of the new fitness clubs over the next year, Anytime Fitness spokesman Mark Daly said.

"The cousins each own a few Anytime Fitness clubs and they're expanding," he said. "That's the primary reason for the sudden growth spurt." 

On average, Anytime Fitness gyms employ two managers and half a dozen personal trainers.

Anytime Fitness already operates gyms in Hobart, Merrillville, Highland, Portage, Winfield, Crown Point, Valparaiso, Schererville, St. John, Dyer, Hebron, Lowell, Michigan City, LaPorte, DeMotte and South Holland. Its health clubs are often located in strip malls and are typically around 3,000 square feet to 5,000 square feet. 

"We're like the Walgreens of fitness centers," said Moe Musleh, who's looking to open new clubs in Cedar Lake and Merrillville. "We're going to get everybody more fit in 2017. With more locations, we're hoping for more members. We've got great operations. We've got clubs that are five years old, and still look brand new inside."

The company claims to be the fastest-growing fitness club franchise in the world, and has been opening 300 new locations every year. It has more than 3 million members and 3,300 gyms, which members can unlock and use 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The gyms carry an array of cardio and weightlifting equipment, as well as kettle balls. During staffed hours, Anytime Fitness also often offers fitness classes, such as for yoga and zumba.

"We do not strive to be the lowest priced gym in any particular market, and believe you get what you pay for," Daly said. "We ask for a 12-month minimum because we see it as a two-way commitment. We're going to commit to you getting good results. If you haven't been in a couple of weeks, you'll get a friendly email or call or text message asking what we can do to help get you back in the gym."

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.