One last thought about unusual locations for fitness facilities. It seems that health clubs are appearing almost everywhere you go these days — even in the same building as an auto repair shop.
Recently, I read about Kendall Tire & Auto in Montello, WI. I normally wouldn't care about an auto repair shop in another state, but this one caught my attention because it is connected to The Body Zone, a 2,000-square-foot fitness club. Car shop customers waiting in the lobby can peer into a room full of free weights, ellipticals, treadmills and bikes.
One man who was told the fitness facility also had a massage room, responded by saying, “You mean I could have had a massage done while I was having my alignment done?”
Yep, but only if you make sure the massage oil is cocoa butter and not 10W-40.
This combination of an auto repair shop and a fitness club (for more on The Body Zone, see page 18) made me wonder what other businesses might partner well with a fitness facility. After all, even in this day and age of instant gratification, there are still places where you have to kill some time while you're waiting.
Keeping with the automobile theme, how about a fitness center in the local DMV? Take a number, then take 30 minutes working up a sweat on an elliptical before your number finally gets called. (Warning: Long waits could result in longer-than-expected workouts.)
A Laundromat could be another possibility. You spend about 30 minutes waiting for the wash cycle and another 45 minutes for the dryer, right? That's more than an hour of good fitness time. A “green” Laundromat could have dryers powered by people on treadmills. After your workout, you could change into freshly cleaned clothes, provided there's a shower nearby.
Then there's the hair salon or barbershop, where walk-ins are welcome. After walking in and making an appointment, you can continue walking on a treadmill until it's time to take a little off the top. A haircut usually includes a shampoo anyway, but these salon/fitness club combos ought to include showers, too, like the Laundromats.
Concession stands at sports stadiums and arenas are legendary for their long lines and slow service. (I wasted an hour of my life trying to get food on New Year's Day at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.) Instead of waiting in line, concessionaires should follow the DMV model and make people take numbers before they hop on exercise equipment. Sports fans, you're going to need that extra workout before you wolf down your bratwursts and chili cheese fries.
Along the same lines as concession stands, I attended several fitness trade shows last year where the only options for food in the convention center were fast and greasy. (Hasn't anyone invented a healthy fast food restaurant yet?) At these shows, you're going to need a place for mid-afternoon workouts in addition to the early morning workouts. It might as well be next to the hamburger joint.
How about those people who wait in long lines for Wiis and iPhones? Fitness centers could strengthen the marriage of fitness and technology by setting up shop next to video game and computer stores.
And finally, is there any place in the world with a longer wait than the doctor's office? At long last, we may have finally found our solution to the national obesity epidemic with the added benefit of possibly lowering health insurance costs.
Get in a workout in the waiting room at the doctor's office, then get your check-up while there's still sweat on your brow. Sure, the blood pressure and heart rate numbers may be a bit off after a workout, but if we're going to solve this obesity crisis, we have to start somewhere.