• Crunch has certainly been keeping busy in the new year. On the national front, the fitness chain launched a “Lifestyle” fitness book series in conjunction with GetFitNow.Com Books. The first six books in the series will address the needs of Americans from all walks of life. Launched on Jan. 1, the Crunch Lifestyle series includes the Road Warrior Workout, geared toward businesspeople who spend more time in an airport than a gym; and Get Fit in a Crunch, which will guide readers who need to look good in a hurry with effective (and quick) exercises. Other books include Beginner's Luck from Crunch, designed to help those new to the gym work smarter and stay motivated; On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!, is written for novice runners trying to train for a marathon; and Workouts for Workaholics, which will help readers maintain fitness on the job.

    The series is available at Barnes & Noble, Border's Books and Music, Books-a-Million, Amazon.com and bookstores everywhere, as well as direct from the publisher at (800) 906-1234.

    In addition to its book venture, Crunch Fitness International Inc. has entered into a long-term agreement with an Italian company for a worldwide apparel license. The newly formed company — created between Crunch, Manrico Holding S.p.A. (who've licensed production for the Prada Group and Ralph Lauren Group, among others) and Progetti International (distributor of Perry Ellis Shoes and other fashion products) — will go under the name M.P. Enterprises. The new clothing line will be launched during the fall of 2001 in both Italy and America. In addition, the apparel will be distributed worldwide to select retailers, as well as be available in all Crunch gyms.

  • Bally Total Fitness has launched BallyStore.com. Developed with Global Sports Inc., a leading developer and operator of e-commerce sporting goods businesses, BallyStore.com will be an extension of the fitness chain's successful BallyFitness.com. The Web site generated more than 3 million unique visitor sessions and resulted in more than $30 million in both direct and indirect revenue last year, according to Bally.