February is kind of a black hole, fitness-wise. Here in Maryland, at least, people tend to stay inside and hibernate, and not work out. February is when New Year's resolutions run out of gas and motivation starts to wear thin. Add in the fact that the stores are marketing Valentine's candy like crazy, and you pretty much have all the ingredients for a seasonal flatline at your facility. Unless, of course, you find a way to hook people's interest.

Our local sports park has found that hook, I think. The other day, I saw a flyer from there, advertising the availability of batting cages. The ad encouraged children and adults to sharpen their skills for spring baseball and softball tryouts. The sports park would be open, it noted, on weekends throughout February.

That's a great idea - and it follows the blueprint for tapping into the market of inactive kids and adults, by tying fitness to a specific event, like tryouts for Little League. Here are some other ways facilities in my region are marketing themselves right now:

• Pre-spring-break beach body boot camp. This probably needs no explanation; caters to the college crowd

• Tune-up for spring lacrosse season. It's offered by a local college sports program and is marketed to middle and high school students

• Bride-to-be boot camp. Let's face it, with the proliferation of all those TV shows about the perfect wedding and the perfect dress, this one shouldn't come as any surprise

• First-time triathlon training programs. These include workouts in running, swimming and cycling, and also strength and weight training designed to build endurance and overall fitness

• Stroke clinics and swim training programs. Meant for lifeguard hopefuls

• Cardio Tennis clinics. These are designed to get people in shape for local league play (or school tennis team play)

• Get ready for golf season clinics. Includes swing tips as well as overall fitness workouts

All of these, and more, I am certain, fall under the heading of spring training. Apparently, it's not just for baseball anymore. It's a great way to bring in some extra business at a quiet time in your facility. Just as important, it can help keep people motivated to continue to pursue their fitness goals.