People Staying Fit

Monday, April 6, 2009 - 6:24pm

Shrinking sales have most industries in a rut, but when it comes to the weight loss market local gyms and supplement stores say business is booming. As our Emily Turner tells us, it’s not just because it’s bikini season.

Heather Bell had her first child just a few months ago and getting back into shape was a top priority. “I tried it on my own and it just didn’t work out.” A weakening economy has forced her family to change up their spending habits. “We’re paying more attention to coupons, more conscious of gasoline where we go.” But gym membership was a must, “It’s helping me get in better health so my insurance doesn’t skyrocket if something were to happen.”

Bell’s trainer John Massey is the manager of Definition’s Fitness Club, “From January on we just about doubled what we did last year.” And he didn’t even have to increase incentives to lure people in, “If you don’t look right you don’t feel right. That gives you reason to get in here.”

Mike Cox, owner of Extreme Nutrition says, “More and more people are getting involved in taking care of themselves. In getting into better shape and it’s affecting other avenues of their life that is allowing them to save money in other areas.” Cox says its hard keeping his shelves of vitamins and nutritional supplements stocked. “Business since Christmas has escalated on a rapid scale.” It’s not because people are waiting to life like he does, “40% of customers come in for preventative measures.”

Cox says he’s kept a steady flow of athletes in training, but has recently seen a significant spike of professionals hoping to improve their health status and quality of life, “To lose body fat to lower cholesterol to lower blood pressure to get off of those medications.” While gym memberships and supplements are certainly not cheap, Cox says the cost of neglecting your health comes with the biggest price tag.

Experts say you should consult your physician before beginning any supplement or exercise regimen.