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Entries in David Patchell-Evans (12)


Rebecca’s Book Review  

By Rebecca Maverick

Working for CBI has its perks: Each day, I invariably come across interesting new people and products, and, in the process, am constantly learning more and more about an industry that I really love.

I was pleased when, a while ago, I received a copy of David “Patch” Patchell-Evans’ latest book: “The Real Sexy, Smart and Strong: 30 Tips to Boost Confidence, Get Fit and Feel Great, Inside and Out,” which I read, cover-to-cover, over the course of one weekend.

Patch, as I’m sure you know, is the founder and CEO of GoodLife Fitness, which, with nearly 300 clubs and some 750,000 members, is the largest club company in Canada. He’s written two other books, “No Sweat, Fitness for the Rest of Us,” and “Living the Good Life,” and is also the ex-officio chairperson of IHRSA’s board of directors.

The major impression, the principal feeling, that I took away from reading “30 Tips” was one of real satisfaction. Speaking through the pages of his book, he shares a wealth of details about both his personal and professional life, educates the reader about exercise science, and, if I’m any indication, inspires and motivates them.

Patch takes you inside his clubs, and lets you hear members discuss how working out at GoodLife has changed their lives for the better and, sometimes, in miraculous ways. He offers glimpses of what it’s like to be a dad and family man who’s dealt with the challenge of raising an autistic daughter, in part by making physical activity an integral part of her treatment and life. As a result, his daughter, Kilee, has made impressive strides.

Patch even takes you with him as he goes on vacation in Australia, and while running outdoors—he’s someone who definitely practices what he preaches—has an amazing experience with, would you believe—a kangaroo. (You have to read this for yourself!)

He also delves into exercise science, explaining what actually happens inside your body when you work out, breaking things down in an easy-to-understand manner. His description leaves you yearning to learn even more about your physiological goings-on and how they’re affected by exercise.

Reading “30 Tips” gave me an opportunity, for a while, to walk in Patch’s shoes—to have a sense of what it’s like to be a caring, committed, and remarkably successful businessperson. It’s an experience that I highly recommend to other readers.

Just last week, I received a review copy of “Working Out Sucks (And Why It doesn’t Have to): The Only 21-Day Kick-Start Plan for Total Health and Fitness You’ll Ever Need.” The coauthor, in this case, is another industry super-achiever: Chuck Runyon, the cofounder and CEO of Anytime Fitness, the fitness franchise that now has some 1,700 clubs, with more than 1.5 million members, in 11 countries. 

- Rebecca Maverick is the managing editor of CBI and can be reached at


Time to Hit the Books!

By Craig R. Waters

Recently, during a dinner for the members of IHRSA’s board of directors, I had the opportunity to chat briefly with Chuck Runyon, the cofounder and president of Anytime Fitness; Brent Darden, the co-owner and general manager of the TELOS Fitness Center; and David “Patch” Patchell-Evans, the founder and CEO of GoodLife Fitness.

And I was reminded, once more, that successful entrepreneurs, while obviously good businesspeople, are also excellent, instinctively skillful, communicators. They connect, they inquire, they listen, they offer comments, and they propose new ideas as naturally as they breathe. In the case of our industry, they seem eager to converse not only about their companies, but to share what they’ve learned—about health, fitness, business, and, yes, even life—with others.

That, perhaps, is why a number of eminently accomplished individuals, Patch among them, have turned their hands and minds to writing, producing intelligent, instructive, revealing, and otherwise worthwhile books. Patch presides over a Canadian group of some 300 facilities (he candidly admits that he occasionally loses track of the number), the largest club chain owned by a single person in the world. But he’s also the author of no less than three books: No Sweat: Fitness for the Rest of Us; Living the Good Life: Your Guide to Health and Success; and his most recent, The Real Sexy Smart and Strong.

As anyone who’s ever met Patch would guess, all three are about energy, enthusiasm, personal goals, motivation, exercise, healthy lifestyle habits, and tackling life’s challenges aggressively. Patch wants everyone to embrace—and to be embraced by—life.

Another impressive industry author, it nearly goes without saying, is Augie Nieto, the cofounder and former president of Life Fitness, Inc., one of the world’s largest and most respected fitness-equipment companies. Augie, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2005, and his wife, Lynne, have launched an initiative, Augie’s Quest, that’s working with the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA’s) ALS Division to find a cure for the condition. Thus far, Augie’s Quest has raised more than $26 million.

Despite the increasingly debilitating effects of ALS, a degenerative neuromuscular disease, Augie has also written two powerful books: Augie’s Quest: One Man’s Journey from Success to Significance, coauthored by T.R. Pearson, a courageous recounting of Augie’s coming down with, and subsequent battle with, ALS; and Reciprocity Incorporated, an exhaustively researched text on the virtues of corporate social responsibility.

Then, not to be overlooked, there’s the flamboyant, ever-adventuresome Sir Richard Branson, the chairman of the Virgin Group, which numbers, among its nearly countless holdings, Virgin Active, the British chain with more than 170 fitness facilities and 1 million members in the U.K., Italy, Spain, Portugal, South Africa, and Australia.

Branson, a larger-than-life character and achiever, has produced a plethora of bestsellers. Among them: his autobiography, Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way; Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons in Life; Screw It, Let’s Do It: 14 Lessons on Making It to the Top While Having Fun & Staying Green; and Reach for the Skies: Ballooning, Birdmen and Blasting into Space. His most recent: Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur. The references to Virgin Active are nominal, but the insights, intriguing.

Finally, I’d be criminally remiss if I didn’t remind you that Robert H. Dedman, Sr., the late founder and chairman of ClubCorp International, Inc., one of the largest club companies in the world, bequeathed several valuable texts to the rest of us when he passed away in 2002. They include: Our Star Service Journey and King of Clubs: Grow Rich in More Than Money. If you want to enrich your understanding of this business, check them out.

All of the books mentioned in this post are available at and from other online providers. 

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