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Chester County Press

Life and fitness center opening in Kennett Square

07/26/2016 01:00PM ● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
Staff Writer

When Charlene Richardson – the owner of ANCHOR life+fitness in Kennett Square – was a youngster growing up in Bucks County, it was common for her family to designate Friday evening as Pizza Night. Just as frequently, the family's nutritional staple included fast food. Family meals, although nutritious, were often laden with starchy carbohydrates.
“When I was younger, I had a lot of my family members began to be diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol,” Richardson said. “We ate everything that we shouldn't have been eating. The conversation never got around to incorporating more fruits and vegetables in our diets.”
By the time she had reached middle school, Richardson began to see herself as an educator and a guidepost of fitness and nutrition, received her personal trainer certification from the American College of Sports Medicine in 2007, and her B.S. in exercise science from Immaculata University the next year.
“As a high school athlete, I began to makes healthier decisions by the time I reached high school,” she said, “and by the time I'd entered college and then graduate school, I truly began to understand what I needed to do.”
After receiving her Masters in exercise physiology from Bowling Green University in 2010, Richardson began ANCHOR life+fitness, a Kennett Square-based personal training business that offers one-on-one training sessions on all aspects of healthy living.
This fall, the vision Richardson first had back in middle school – and the business that she began a few years ago – are about to take their boldest leap yet.
Scheduled to open in September, ANCHOR life+fitness will be a 5,000-square-foot facility on Broad Street in Kennett Square, at the former home of the Kennett Fire Company, originally built in the early 1950s. Currently under construction, the facility will bring the components of Richardson's fitness training aspirations all under one roof: Personal training in a small class setting; kettlebell, barbell and body weight training to build a strong foundation; and a small kitchen area that will be the site of seminars, tastings, and healthy cooking demonstrations with local chefs and dietitians.
“We will continue to offer in-home services, but we realize that having a facility can help maximize our teachings by providing more tools and services to our community,” Richardson said.
When her wife first introduced Richardson to the Kennett Square community, she looked around and saw the growing vibrancy of a town that -- as evidenced by its Friday Farmers Market, restaurants, food fairs and sense of community -- seemed the perfect destination for ANCHOR life+fitness.
“I fell in love with Kennett Square immediately, and walking past the fire company building one day, I thought, 'This is the prefect location for a life and fitness center,'” she said. “This town is really on the right path to wanting a healthy lifestyle. To me, when I was searching for the right place in the right town, there really was no other option than here.”
The key philosophy behind ANCHOR life+fitness is to create a customized program to increase the proper body movement, begun with an initial consultation that will allow Richardson and her staff to identify mobility and stability issues. Coaches will develop a program to improve strength and conditioning using a variety of tools including kettle bells, barbells, TRX, sleds, ropes and other tools – both in a small class setting and with one-on-one training. ANCHOR life+fitness will also offer classes targeted to young athletes in middle school and high school, intended to help them improve their performance.
Richardson will be joined in Kennett Square by Aaron Schott, a certified personal trainer and kettlebell instructor.
“This will be a place where people will have the freedom to take progressive steps, rather than feeling as if they have to come in and immediately destroy themselves,” Richardson said. “This is not a 'work out, pound yourself into a wall, make it hard and restrict your calories' environment. Rather, it will be a place where they can find someone who can help them move better, increase their strength, in order to make their life easier. Once they receive that help, they will be motivated to do more for themselves.
“They will begin to see the changes that they have made, the signs of weight control, and for a lot of people, that's when their motivation really begins to kick in.”
For more information about ANCHOR life+fitness, visit
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail

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