Gyms and fitness studios in Southern California are amping up for their busy season.
January is typically one of the most active months for the fitness industry, with facilities typically experiencing a 30 percent increase in business. Angelenos who have made New Year's resolutions can choose from scores of fitness regimens in 2015.
Boutique fitness franchises offer specialized workouts, such as CrossFit, Bar Method, SoulCycle and Cardio Barre. These workouts are marketed as a lifestyle and are more pricey than traditional gyms. Monthly memberships start at around $200. But the price has not scared away consumers — boutique fitness studios are one of the fastest-growing segments of the fitness market.
Low-cost fitness is also on the rise. Planet Fitness has pushed the trend of the "no-frills gym," with locations opening up all over the country touting a $10 monthly membership. This has sparked a wave of new low-cost, no-frills health club chains marketed to consumers who want to sweat with no fuss.
The two extremes in exercise have created new competition for traditional gyms like Bally's and LA Fitness, according to IBIS World, which tracks the fitness industry.
"It’s hard to create the same sense of community that a lot of these boutique — Crossfit, Yoga and Pilates — studios are offering. And then it’s really hard for them to beat companies like Planet Fitness on price," said IBIS World's Brittany Carter.
Stuart Goldman, from the trade magazine Club Industry, said many traditional health club chains have merged or were bought out over the past few years.
Carter added that some health club chains, such as Lifetime Fitness, have gotten creative to distinguish themselves from the competition, adding such new amenities for their members as indoor and outdoor aquatic centers, cafes, babysitting and spa services.
In January, nearly every club or studio offers a promotion to bring new clients in their doors. Many deals are offered through social media sites like Groupon and Living Social.