In today's world of takeaways, fast food, computer games, the internet and alcohol, it's no wonder increasing numbers of people are looking to take care of their bodies and bypass the coronary bypass.
One of the most common New Year's resolutions, apart from quitting smoking, is to join a gym and get fit – even if the average fitness hopeful only stick it out for a few weeks.
This is becoming increasingly true as government initiatives, magazines, TV programmes and health charities are finally getting a successful message across: that exercise is one of the best ways to improve your quality of life.
But with most people unable to afford their own exercise equipment in their home, it is one of the most popular methods of helping cut down on weight and improve people's general health.
And this means gyms have an escalating market and the potential for rapid, and massive, growth.
Franchising in the UK fitness sector is currently exploding and in the US and Australia it has already been hugely successful – and demand for fitness clubs in the UK alone is forecast to grow at six per cent annually.
Anyone looking to invest in the burgeoning health sector in terms of franchising has a ready-made market for fitness clubs, backed up by the professionalism and support of a well-known chain.
However, most franchises require a reasonably high initial investment, as buildings, equipment and staff are not cheap. This is, of course, offset by the exponential returns guaranteed from a quality location, good marketing strategy and the resources provided by the franchiser.
Marketing is frequently the key to success with fitness club franchises as many people often only consider joining when the details are put in front of them and they realise what it involves – and what they get out of it.
Research has shown that only ten per cent of the UK are currently signed up to a gym, yet millions struggle every day with weight loss, health problems and often simply find gyms and health clubs intimidating.
This means anybody looking to take the next few steps into fitness club franchising will need to assess their own skills both as a businessperson and as an entrepreneur, coming up with marketing plans, original ideas, budgeting skills, management qualities and an ability to muck in at the beginning.
But the rewards are high. A gym or fitness club in a good location, such as in a large town or city, will generate excellent returns, although potential franchisees need to weigh up the costs of the initial investment, both financially and personally.