Meet acac Fitness & Wellness Centers Owner Phil Wendel


About Phil Phil Wendel began his career as a middle school teacher in the Chicago area. In addition to teaching history, government and economics, he was a basketball and baseball coach. In the 1960s, Phil began leading student tours to Washington, D.C., and in 1967, he founded Lakeland Tours, a student travel company. Phil moved the company headquarters to Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1979. A lifelong fitness enthusiast, Phil opened his second business, acac, five years later. Today there are acac clubs in West Chester, PA; Richmond, VA; and Charlottesville, VA. At the heart of the organization is acac’s mission to help others “live their best”. Driven by the knowledge that exercise is medicine, Phil strives to share this powerful message with community members of all ages and stages of life. Father and stepfather to six, Phil is a strong advocate for family health and fitness.

acac’s Beginnings

Phil first joined a fitness club when health spas became popular in the early 1970s. By his count, Phil has had lifetime memberships to more than 20 fitness clubs. Like many other people, he joined club after club.

“It seemed like the clubs would get a new owner every month, and eventually the doors would shut,” says Phil. “I observed the comings and goings of all these clubs and thought to myself, ‘There must be a better way.’”

In the midst of the 80s fitness craze, Phil opened the first acac in a small shopping center in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“My goal then was simply to open a club that would not close,” quips Phil.

After his first decade in the fitness business, the concept of working out had become more than a fad. By the mid-1990s, studies reporting the benefits of exercise were published daily in respectable health and medical journals. Phil, a voracious reader, kept abreast of the latest research. Convinced that gyms should not just be for the young and fit, Phil set out to operate a health club where everyone would feel comfortable coming to exercise. Once Phil refined this mission, the business model became apparent.

“In order to appeal to a broader audience, we had to re-evaluate our services, facilities, and programming,” says Phil. “We wanted to get away from the typical ‘gym’ stereotype.”

By emphasizing health and wellness in facilities known for their cleanliness and friendly team of professionals, Phil has created a new type of fitness center that strives to meet the needs of individuals at every stage of life.

“We want to serve our members from cradle to…well, keeping you on the right side of the grass,” jokes Phil.

acac Today

In its first year of operation, acac had fewer than 1,000 members. Today nearly 50,000 people are members of an acac club. Representing all ages and stages of life, 52% of acac’s overall membership includes families and the average age of our members is over 50.

As partnerships with area hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare professionals increase, many members utilize acac’s medical services and programs. The Physician Referred Exercise Program, also referred to as p.r.e.p.®, is a nationally acclaimed program that offers patients a gentle introduction to exercise and lifestyle change.

“Medical professionals and fitness professionals know how powerful exercise can be in preventing and treating an array of medical conditions,” says Wendel. “If we can collaborate to create a new continuum of care, from prevention to treatment, we can positively impact countless lives.”

What you can expect from acac

As an acac member, you’ll find that the club is committed to providing ample space, high quality equipment, and the absolute best services and programs for its members. acac invests heavily in improvements and is always looking for ways to enhance the members’ club experience. Though acac, the building, is clean, aesthetically pleasing, and outfitted with top-of-the-line equipment, it is acac, the community, that is extraordinary. Please come experience acac for yourself. We look forward to serving the health and wellness needs of you and your family.

acac Eagleview coming soon! For updates and information, visit

acac Wellness & Fitness Pre-Sales Office 622 Wharton Blvd Eagleview Town Center | Exton, PA Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday: 8am - 12pm Tuesday & Thursday: 3 - 7pm

acac Fitness & Wellness Centers Eagleview 699 Rice Blvd Eagleview Town Center | Exton, PA 610.431.7000 (West Chester location)