Friday, August 14, 2009

Gym Becoming Social Networking Hub

“Women are willing to skip office but not gyms. Men are avoiding dates but not gyms. Rise of the gym culture is no more about physical fitness alone, it’s increasingly becoming a social networking hub for those using it. The entry of international fitness chains such as UK's Fitness First and US-based Gold’s Gym besides expanding footprints of homegrown Talwalkars has given a facelift to the Rs 500-crore gym industry. Till now the industry had a boutique presence besides the dinghy akhadas producing private bodyguards for the rich and loan recovery agents for banks. Though bollywood celebrities and TV stars continue to flock fitness centres, there’s has been a significant surge in the number of corporates taking gym membership over the past 2-3 years. ‘Unlike the previous years, when health clubs were seen as places to exercise and stay fit, executives across sectors are now frequenting them to enhance their social circle,’ Fitness First managing director Vikram Aditya Bhatia said. Going to the gym is increasingly becoming an urban culture. Besides health reasons, it is more to do with lifestyle these days. ‘We started our operations a year ago and we are adding close to 800 people every month’" Mr Bhatia said. The UK-based chain has around 10,600 users in India, of which around one third are women...

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