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Clubs Go Express

Express workouts appeal to time-constrained exercisers.

A couple of years ago, when talk about the Curves franchise success was all the rage, I suggested to my husband that someone (maybe us?) should consider starting an all-men's express fitness chain. Why not, I told him? Many men experience the same time constraints and apprehensions about going to fitness centers as women do. Much to my chagrin, not long after that conversation, all-men's fitness chains began popping up - even express ones.

The success of this fitness center-type model is not a phenomenon; it's just common sense. It's actually a spinoff from early "women's-only" fitness centers that began in the '80s, but with a new twist. First, express workouts appeal to time-constrained exercisers. Many facilities offer privacy (workouts in the company of the same sex), and they are quick and easy to perform.

It seems only logical, then, that co-ed, multipurpose fitness centers are also joining in on this new fitness trend. Many major chains, such as Bally's, LA Fitness and World Gym, offer express workouts. And, now, even smaller chains and independents are benefitting from them as well. If you have the space, it may be worth the effort.

Amy Scanlin, in her article Express Workouts (p.32), highlights some of the facilities offering these types of workouts. She discusses how any fitness center owner can run these types of workouts, and how you can market them to the populations to whom they appeal.

Then, on page 30, Richard Borkowski, a safety consultant to the fitness club industry, outlines how you can ensure that your group exercise classes are safe for members. He not only provides a safety checklist, but also post-injury guidelines in case one of your members gets injured.

Group exercise promotes camaraderie among your members. Group express exercise not only promotes camaraderie, but it promotes a comfortable workout environment and a time format that feels "doable" for members. It's not just for Curves or the express workout centers popping up across the U.S.; it's a natural fit for almost every fitness center.

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