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Fitness entrepreneur leaves finance career behind for Camden gym

Christina Lee Knauss //June 12, 2024//

Fitness entrepreneur leaves finance career behind for Camden gym

Christina Lee Knauss //June 12, 2024//

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Phil Gephart makes the 69-mile drive from Rock Hill in York County every day to help residents of Kershaw County in the Midlands live healthier lives.

Earlier this year, Gephart and his wife Clare Gephart purchased the Workout Anytime location in Camden with the goal of bringing a new kind of workout experience to residents of the growing town.

Workout Anytime is a franchise-based fitness chain with 200 units nationwide that caters to the growing number of people who want access to a gym that fits flexible schedules. The name truly means what it says — members of the gym have access to the facilities 24 hours, seven days a week. It’s a type of gym membership especially appealing to people whose work and family responsibilities make it challenging to hit the gym at traditional times during the day.

“Many people these days want accessibility and availability, a gym on demand just like you have TV on demand,” Gephart said. “They don’t want to wait for a specific time to do their workouts. We have a lot of staffed hours, with trainers on hand most of the day, but if you want to come late at night or very early in the morning, that’s available too.”

Five years ago, Gephart was living in Austin, Texas, and working as a holistic fitness coach. His family moved to Rock Hill at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Gephart got a job in the finance industry and managed his old Austin gym remotely for about a year, but he quickly realized he missed working directly with fitness clients. Enter Workout Anytime.

Phil Gephart says his passion is working directly with people helping them get healthy and get stronger. (Photo/Phil Gephart)
Phil Gephart says his passion is working directly with people helping them get healthy and get stronger. (Photo/Phil Gephart)

“My passion is working directly with people helping them get healthy and get stronger, and the Workout Anytime franchise in Camden was for sale, so I came back into the industry,” Gephart said.

Gephart said the existing location in Camden “needed some TLC and needed some work” when he purchased it. He updated the interior and also changed out other elements, like substituting snacks in an existing vending machine for healthier selections, including gluten-free options and items with no artificial sugars.

“I really fell in love with the community and was ecstatic to be here because of the kindness of the people,” he said. “One of the reasons I also wanted to come to Camden was I’ve been in bigger metropolitan areas and now I wanted to bring an optimal training and health experience to a town like Camden.”

Sports and fitness has been a big part of Gephart’s life since childhood. He played basketball in high school and then at Wilmington University in Delaware, and later played professional basketball for five years on five continents overseas. Besides playing, he also ran basketball camps in Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, London and other locations.

When he left his playing career behind, Gephart got interested in personal training and studied holistic health. He became a personal trainer, working on an appointments-only basis with a focus on strength training. His work was driven by a passion for helping people improve their basic health and live their best lives through common-sense approaches.

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“I created sort of a six-pillar system of fitness — sleep, sunlight, stress management, nutrition, hydration and movement,” Gephart said. “All of those are so important, and people don’t realize how great they’re supposed to feel if all of those are involved. People believe that by 40 your knees shouldn’t work anymore, or by 60 it’s supposed to be normal to be on 10 medications every day. That’s not supposed to be the human experience. You can feel so much greater if you just master the basics.”

Workout Anytime offers some high-tech approaches to developing the best workout regimen for each client’s needs. A Styku 3-D body scanning system allows trainers to screen a client’s body to better understand their fitness needs and goals.

“When someone becomes a member, we schedule a ‘success session’ where we dig into their health and fitness goals, do a movement screen to find out their muscular weaknesses and imbalances, and use the body scanner to measure things like waist-to-hip ratio, lean body mass, and body fat percentage,” Gephart said. “We can also track when they should be achieving certain goals based on how many workouts they want during the week. We can really lay out a specific path for each client and help them get there every step of the way.”

Workout Anytime is located at 1670 Springdale Drive, Suite 13-C, in Camden.

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