Monday, August 18, 2008

Health Clubs Manage Financial Fitness

“Fitness Together is sandwiched between other Rockford health clubs, but owner and manager Keith Cooper isn’t worried about the competition. His studio, 3065 N. Perryville Road, highlights one-on-one training, trying to capture the market of exercisers who need motivation and accountability as much as the treadmill and free weights. ‘This is for people willing to work the hardest for good health,’ Cooper said. ‘If they’re willing to put the work in, we can pretty much guarantee success. This is what works.’ The fitness market he’s entering can be a volatile one. Peak Fitness and the YMCA recently expanded after opening new locations, while Ladies Workout Express and TruEssence Ultimate Fitness & Day Spa have closed within the past year. Kara Thompson, a spokeswoman for the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, said competition in the fitness industry has intensified in recent years. The trend plays out here because as soon as one club closes, another moves in. The number of clubs in Illinois grew by 160 percent from 1996 to 2007. The state had 451 clubs in 1996 and 1,169 as of January, a slight decrease from 2006.

But pair those numbers with the average 2005 to 2007 participation rates in Illinois, which is 13.7 percent. The association’s 2008 Global Report discusses trends ranging from niche markets that create ‘member experiences’ to industry growth in affordable group training that doesn’t rely on lots of equipment. Overall, membership rates are holding steady, club growth increased slightly from the year before and revenues are up, meaning the client base is willing to spend more for its fitness options. The IHRSA cites survey results that affordable cost, convenience and having enough time are key factors affecting why Americans join specific clubs.”

No comments: