Donald W. Reynolds National Center For Business Journalism

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Planning your New Years’ fitness coverage

January 16, 2018

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Multi-colored kettle bell weights in a row
The fitness industry generates billions of dollars in profit annually; these fresh story angles can jumpstart a business report. (Image via Pexels user Pixabay CC0 License)

January is when many people resolve to lose weight or get active, so this is a good time to explore food and fitness trends and the economics behind them. According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, U.S. health clubs generated more than $27.6 billion in revenue last year, so the quest to get slim earns big profits. Here’s a look at fitness trends to consider localizing for the new year.

Workouts in unusual spaces

Does your area offer quirkier workout options like yoga at a brewery or cardio in a museum? What’s in it for the venue? Does it attract customers during slower periods or generate social media buzz? What’s the cost of hosting these events and do they charge participants? How often do these events happen? What type of people attend? Devoted yogis who want a change of scenery? Reluctant exercisers who need the promise of a post-workout pint to motivate them? On a somewhat related note, the WSJ recently reported that gyms are becoming a mainstay in some shopping malls, so if it’s happening in your area, that’s another idea to localize.

Local fitness franchises

If CrossFit gyms or barre studios are proliferating in your area, find out why and how. Who’s opening them? What are their startup costs? Do they make money from selling merchandise, class punch cards, monthly memberships, post-workout energy drinks or other items? How long before these businesses start making a profit? How do they lure customers away from gyms and other venues? Or do they try to attract people who aren’t already gym-goers? What kind of incentives do they offer new members?

Eating and drinking for wellness

Following New Year’s Eve, Dryuary is when some people give up alcohol for the month. Are local restaurants serving up kombucha or mocktails for this contingent? Are local cafes, juice shops, meal prep businesses or other places cashing in on food trends like the ketogenic or keto diet (no sugar, carbs, fruit or potatoes) or the paleo diet (no dairy, legumes, refined sugar or cereal grains)? What does it cost to eat keto or paleo for a week compared to other options?

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