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January 03, 2022

Today marks the first day of "Black January" for fitness biz

If you made a New Year’s weight loss resolution, how un excited were you for Tuesday’s lunch?

1272846_dumb-bellWhat was it, celery and quinoa? Maybe an acai berry smoothie? Dare we say … flaxseed?

Indeed, for holiday gluttons, the first work day of the New Year is just the pits, but not so for those in the fitness biz.

Because, much as “Black Friday” in November gives retailers a major spike toward their year-end bottom lines, gyms and health clubs may well enjoy their own “Black January” the first month of the year.

That’s the term just coined by the Toronto Star, which recently profiled a few gyms to see what effect New Year’s resolutions have on the fitness industry.

The verdict? A lot, though it’s an unquantifiable consequence for now.

*Bing: How to get the gym effect at home

Fitness, according to the like-named Fitness Industry Council of Canada, is a $2.2 billion biz, and more than five million Canucks are signed up with gyms across the country.

You’ll notice, of course, that health clubs become much busier two times in the year: in late spring, as Canadians hone their beach bods, and in the immediate six weeks or so following the New Year, before reality sets in and many resolution fitness goals fizzle out.

Gym owners aren’t likely to divulge just what dollar figures their businesses swell after the New Year, but one Scarborough health club boss admitted it was “hugely important,” and that his gym relies on the January boom to “refresh the crop for the year.”

Angling this story toward the workplace, it’ll be interesting going forward if employers offering employees gym memberships or the chance to work out on-site may soon become the norm.

Chances are you’ve heard stories of some contemporary-thinking companies giving its workers breaks during the day to exercise – or even, remarkably, to receive massages and attend yoga classes – an initiative CTV reports is catching on fast.

According to one report, SAS Inc., a Toronto computer software firm that offers fitness and wellness programs to its employees, enjoys such low employee turnover (17-18 per cent below the industry norm, it says) because of its encouragement of exercise that often the move pays for itself.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...