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Fitness Franchise Business Opportunity

Aug 17, 2007
If recent media coverage were any indication, it would appear that virtually nobody in the United States has had any success at losing weight. Crash diets, weight loss pills and get-thin-quick gimmicks are more prevalent than ever, yet two-thirds of our population is still overweight. Even more startling is the fact that approximately one-third of the people in our country are clinically obese.

Yet more and more Americans are finding that weight loss success is not only within their grasp, but also actually easier to achieve than they thought possible.

Due to the rapid growth of women-only circuit-training gyms, women in particular are finding that weight loss is an achievable goal. Workouts just for women have become a common sight from sea to shining sea, with the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association reporting that as of July 2005 there were 26,046 health clubs in the United States (a 10.8 percent increase from just six months previous). Women-only circuit training clubs account for more than one out of every three fitness centers in the nation.

Sales at fitness clubs have also been on the rise. In January 2003, the latest figures available, the industry collectively took in $14.1 billion in revenue, a jump from $13.1 billion a year earlier.

Why has the women-only circuit-training exercise model worked so well? The short answer is that it works. Circuit training is a proven exercise system that, for many women, has proven to be more effective than dieting or nutrition programs alone.

The routine at these ladies express gyms is quick and simple, allowing each woman to progress at her own pace. The ladies exercise in a circle, each at a station. They spend 30 or 45 seconds at each station, either working a hydraulic resistance machine or doing aerobics. The entire routine takes 30 minutes.

Pick Up The Pace is one such gym for women that has carefully tracked the success of its members for years. Deanna S., a member of Pick Up The Pace in Libby, MT, lost 14.75 inches in just one month. Kim M. reduced her body-fat by 4.2 percent in just one month at Pick Up The Pace, while at the same time losing 10.75 pounds of fat.

With results like these, it's easy to see why this fitness center concept has skyrocketed in popularity with today's average woman. For perhaps the first time in their lives, women are finding that it's possible to slim down and tone up in only 30 minutes each day.

What many women see as just a great way to achieve some quick weight loss, others see as a business opportunity. Despite the incredible growth of these hydraulic gyms, there seems to be no shortage of customers. As reported by CNN on 1-14-05 "Americans were expected to spend more than $40 billion in 2004 on weight control pills, gym memberships, diet plans and related foods, estimates Marketdata Enterprises, which studies the weight loss industry." Furthermore, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that 80 percent of overweight individuals and almost 87 percent of obese individuals are trying to lose or maintain their weight.

As reported by mygoals.com, 80 percent of Americans made a New Year's resolution in 2005. A whopping 26 percent of those resolutions were to improve overall health and fitness, making this the top category for self-improvement. This year was no anomaly, either, according to Amy O'Connor, deputy editor of Prevention magazine: "Fifty-nine million people every year resolve to lose weight."

With so many potential customers, many women seek to start their own circuit-training business only to find themselves discouraged by the typical franchise opportunity. They're finding that a hydraulic gym franchise such as Curves for Women can be expensive, restrictive, and sometimes difficult to purchase.

According to the International Franchise Association, one of the women-only workout franchises recently announced that they are raising their franchise fee from $9,995 to $12,500. Another franchise package costs anywhere from $85,000 to $225,000, including a $36,000 franchise fee and startup cost. Monthly franchise royalty payments, which can range from $395 to $590 per month, place an additional burden on the franchisee. Assuming that the franchise agreement permits the buyer to use the franchise name for 10 years, the gym owner will be paying approximately $60,000 in royalty payments over the franchise term. These figures can scare off many would-be health club owners.

Many women who do opt to open a circuit-training franchise find that the franchise agreement does not grant them the liberty to add amenities as they wish. Many franchise operations restrict their fitness centers by not allowing them to add tanning, nutrition counseling, supplements, vitamins, massage therapy, body wraps or other extras for which ladies are clamoring.

Relying on good old American made ingenuity, many women entrepreneurs are choosing to either open a completely independent workout center or opt for a license package. While going independent carries the inherent risk of having to reinvent the wheel, it still may be the best option for some women. The other option is to capture most of the benefits of a franchise while at the same time avoiding the financial burdens of that system. This is done with a license package, such as the one offered by Pick Up The Pace 30-Minute Workout For Women.

For many women, getting fit, slender and in shape themselves has not only been good for their health but has also prompted them to enter the fitness market as a gym owner. With obesity rates still climbing, this is a trend that may continue for years to come.
About the Author
* Tracie Johanson is the founder of Pick Up The Pace, a 30-minute exercise studio for women, focusing on fitness, health and nutrition for maximum weight loss. Please visit http://www.letspickupthepace.com/ for more information.
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