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Fitness franchises staying healthy

Like clockwork, as soon as the calendar starts anew, gyms and fitness centers are met with throngs of new customers, all looking to get fit in the new year.

"Working out more" is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions, so much so that despite the cold and wintry gloom, January continues to be one of the busiest months of the year for fitness franchises.

Economically-speaking, though, 2009 promises to be a different year than any in recent memory, and fitness franchises are no different. Perhaps, in this recession-age, a gym membership will become a luxury that people can no longer afford. But even though the fitness industry has noted a general slump in recent months, creative franchisors are finding new means to bring new customers in.

For instance, gyms in Tyler, Texas, are offering referral discounts of up to six months for every four new customers brought in. Others are offering January discounts. Other fitness franchises have noted a switch towards the most inexpensive athletic centres, like the YMCA, and are accordingly modifying their cost structure.

So while people may put wallets ahead of their fitness this new year, early signs are showing that physical well-being is as important as ever to Americans. Which is heartening news to fitness franchisors or people considering their next franchise investment.

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