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Health Club in a Big City? Target This Demographic

If you're an independent club in a big city, you may have a new audience to target. Businessmen and women, sick of wining and dining clients on fatty meals and plenty of alcohol, are seeking an alternative entertainment option: fitness.

According to this article from businessweeek.com, fitness classes all over Manhattan are filling up with bankers who want to bond with clients without taking in 1,000 calories and being out all night. The article sites several traders and salesmen who say they'd rather take a client to a fitness class than out to a heavy dinner.

More Professionals Are Choosing To Entertain Clients And Colleagues With Fitness, Rather Than A Heavy Dinner
"Let's meet at 5 for a workout," says a former equity saleswoman in the article, describing how she'd invite traders. "You can be home before your kids go to bed. That's an enticing thing for a lot of people."

That's where your club comes in. For busy professionals, an early-morning class may be their only opportunity to exercise during the day. One woman in the article actually quit her job at Bank of America Corp. to start a cycling studio of her own in New York. Her studio caters to banker outings by letting people form teams and compete on stationary bikes. Your club could try something similar.

Steve Starker, a co-founder of the global trading company BTIG LLC, is a supporter of taking fitness classes with clients. His company even sponsored a charity spinning class for clients earlier this year. Of course, he has his ties to the fitness industry as well. He's a founding investor of Cyc Fitness, a chain of spinning studios geared toward students and young professionals.

"All it is is bonding," Starker says in the article. "You're saying let's go spin this morning, get a sweat and grab a juice after."

Another trader says, "It's fun to meet colleagues there because they can be competitive."

"A lot of people who work on Wall Street, every hour of free time they have is precious and they want to maximize it," she says. "It's a nice alternative to dinners or drinks. It's a 6 a.m. alternative."

It's an alternative on which independent health clubs in urban areas can capitalize.

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