NEW YORK — While spending a lot of time in front of the computer building Internet-based companies over the last seven years, Howard Lerman admits he put on some extra weight.

Lerman joined a health club and started running every day, eventually losing 50 pounds. He later moved his office to downtown New York and looked for a new club. That's what sparked the idea that has turned into his fourth Internet company.

Lerman founded GymTicket.com, which provides a search engine for health club locations across the country.

“I had to find a new club, and there wasn't a great way to do that on the Internet,” Lerman says. “If you try to find clubs on Google or Yahoo, they don't really have very comprehensive information. There's no Lending Trees for health clubs. There's no Hotels.com for health clubs. There's no Expedia.com for health clubs. What I saw was this parallel win-win opportunity to connect people to health clubs.”

Once health club searchers log onto GymTicket.com, they can type in their address, and clubs within about a six-mile radius appear instantly.

Clubs can be listed on GymTicket.com free of charge with no set-up fees. However, the company charges clubs $5 per lead for every person that requests information about that club.

Lerman started the company late last year but officially launched it at the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association show in March. Lerman estimates that the company has had a 40 percent growth per month since the launch.

“Our sole mission is to help clubs make money,” Lerman says. “The market opportunity is kind of unprecedented. Ultimately, as long as we're helping clubs helping consumers, we're happy, and we're going to continue doing that for a long time.”

Other health club search engines on the Internet include Gymlocator.com, Heathclubdirectory.com, Healthclubnetwork.com, Healthclubonlinesearch.com and Youronlinefitness.com.