Case Studies

Excel Fitness

Excel Fitness


Excel Fitness (Excel) is a leading franchisee in the Planet Fitness system, headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations across the country. Over 30+ years, Planet Fitness (PF) has fundamentally changed the fitness landscape by offering exceptional value at a low price in a “judgement free” setting that welcomes first-time gym-goers. By delivering best-in-class results and partnering with the team at PF, Excel has been a key contributor to this growth story.

Excel was formed in 2007 by two experienced health club operators, Greg Attwood and Mike Turner, who operated 18 clubs in Texas at the time of our initial investment. During Excel’s first ten years, Greg, Mike, and their team had proven themselves as exceptional operators with a firm commitment to culture and ambition for growth. At the time we partnered in 2016, we collectively saw significant opportunity for organic development and consolidation within the fragmented PF system and believed that Excel was uniquely positioned to pursue this with our support.


In Excel, we found like-minded leaders who were focused on making the business best-in-class on all dimensions, and not just with respect to growth rate. We built a plan together based on our shared values:

  • Culture First. Excel has always believed that a world-class customer experience begins with a strong and passionate team. As we grew the team, we prioritized cultural fit, team cohesion, and internal promotions, alongside significant investments in the employee experience.
  • Strong Alignment. Leading up to and throughout the investment, management and ACP were strongly aligned on the growth priorities and on the importance of transparent, collaborative discussion to achieve them.
  • Business Building. Both the Excel team and ACP recognized the importance of investing in infrastructure and team to be able to scale the business. With our network, resources, and experience growing leading multi-unit platforms, we helped Excel build out their team and capabilities to enable accelerated growth.
  • Sustainable Growth. We collectively recognized that not all growth is equal and worked together to select and sequence opportunities to grow in the right way. This included prioritizing diversification, attractive markets, infrastructure investments, and an appropriate balance of organic growth and acquisitions.


Over more than 6 years of partnership, Excel grew from 18 clubs in Texas to 92 clubs across six states including North Carolina, Virginia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri.

This growth was supported by significant investments to build out the finance, development, and HR functions, as well as to establish a training center and leadership development program. Additionally, we worked with the Excel management team to implement the system’s only 24/7-member support call center and best-in-class systems to drive visibility and operational consistency at scale. This enabled system-leading member retention and club performance across a national footprint.

These investments facilitated a transformative partnership with another large franchisee in North Carolina, three add-on acquisitions, and over 40 new club openings. Through its capabilities, growth, and operational excellence, Excel cemented its position as a leader in the system, culminating in being named Planet Fitness Franchisee of the Year in 2019.

While the COVID pandemic presented a unique challenge for the entire fitness industry, ACP and Excel moved quickly to capitalize on competitive displacement as conditions improved. By early 2022, Excel had opened 13 new clubs since the start of the pandemic and achieved full membership recovery.

Excel’s successes would not have been possible without its team-oriented mission, so we were privileged to have the full team share in the value at exit. At the time of sale, Excel’s founders and ACP provided every employee at the company – more than 1,500 individuals – with a payment in recognition of their impact.

Note: Case studies have been selected using non-performance based criteria. Full detail regarding ACP investment performance is available upon request subject to NDA.