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Fitness Feels the Burn

Katherine and Kimberly Corp September 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
fitness class

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The recent economic climate has impacted consumers’ spending habits, leaving populations young and old seeking more bang for their buck. Overall trends are expected to show a return to the basics in regard to fitness, with boot camps and energizing, calorie-burning group classes becoming popular in lieu of personal training. Classes and training that offer event- and sport-specific exercise bring together people with similar goals, which fills both social and fitness needs.

Wellness programs and fitness centers providing lifestyle-enhancing services for older populations will continue to be an important niche market. Although sales of fitness DVDs are declining, websites offering personal training programs, fitness videos and interactive exercise programming that allow members to chat and motivate each other are on the rise. New technology, such as exergaming products with reality courses for bikes and treadmills, and sophisticated, interactive fitness training and analysis tools are further revolutionizing the fitness landscape.

Savvy fitness consumers

Today’s fitness consumers are far savvier and more discerning than those of years past. Although some gimmicks and fitness fads may arouse the attention of the media, today’s consumer recognizes the health- and lifestyle-enhancing benefits of exercise, and chooses programs and products that address their unique concerns. With the integration of fitness and technology gaining popularity, and wellness initiatives intensifying at the government and corporate levels, 2010–2011 is anticipated to present a wide spectrum of fitness products and services for all age groups. From baby boomers to Generations X and Y, individuals engage in exercise for reasons as diverse as fun, stress-relief, camaraderie, relaxation, wellness and preventive medicine—and all expect their needs to be met.

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Retail Tips: Fitness Feels the Burn

During this period of relative uncertainty, spa owners should consider collaborating with nearby corporations and their corporate wellness programs, and explore which insurance companies allow health services to be considered for health savings accounts (HSA). Then, advertise that your services can be paid for with HSA accounts. More than ever, club and spa owners need to analyze their facility’s demographics to determine what services could be added at a range of price points to buffer any decline in a given sector. For instance, many clubs have had success increasing the number and variety of group classes in lieu of promoting personal training, while spas have benefited from lower-priced 30-minute services to accommodate those mindful of their budgets. If owners continue to listen—really listen—to their clients’ needs and desires, weathering an unfavorable economy is possible.

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