IRVINE, CA -- The 2011 Franchise 500 list produced by Entrepreneur magazine includes many of the same fitness companies that appeared on last year’s list.

Jazzercise Inc., Carlsbad, CA, once again topped fitness franchise companies with its No. 17 ranking, one spot higher than its Franchise 500 ranking last year. Jazzercise also is No. 4 on the low-cost franchises list, No. 4 on the top home-based franchises list and No. 21 on the fastest-growing franchises list.

Anytime Fitness, Hastings, MN, is close behind Jazzercise at No. 18, 25 spots higher than last year’s ranking. Snap Fitness, Chanhassen, MN, is at No. 33, 18 spots higher than last year. Gold’s Gym International, Irving, TX, made a significant jump from No. 109 in 2010 to No. 72 this year. Planet Fitness, Newington, NH, made a quantum leap from No. 157 in 2010 to No. 81 this year.

RetroFitness made the Franchise 500 list for the first time at No. 236. The Colts Neck, NJ-based company also is No. 10 on the top new ranking list and No. 83 on the fastest-growing franchises list.

“This is the first year RetroFitness has been eligible to participate based on number of years operating, and this high-level recognition out of the gate speaks volumes for the brand,” Eric Casaburi, founder and CEO of RetroFitness LLC, said in a statement. “To be recognized as one of the fastest-growing franchise systems while ranking in the top half of the list—we really couldn’t be more proud of our successes. We look forward to much more to come.”

Other fitness franchise companies making the 2011 list are: The Little Gym, Scottsdale, AZ (No. 283); Fun Bus Fitness Fun on Wheels, Tinton, NJ (No. 329); Personal Training Institute, Jericho, NY (No. 337); My Gym Children’s Fitness Center, Sherman Oaks, CA (No. 361); Get in Shape for Women, Needham, MA (No. 401); Fitness Together, Highlands Ranch, CO (No. 447); and LA Boxing Franchise Corp., Santa Ana, CA (No. 498). All but Get in Shape for Women made the list last year.

Two tanning companies, Palm Beach Tan, Coppell, TX, (No. 230) and Tanworld, La Vista, NE, (No. 275), also made this year’s list.

Only franchise companies that sent full Franchise Disclosure Documents (FDDs) or Canadian Disclosure Documents and whose information was verified by Entrepreneur could receive a listing in the magazine. To be eligible for the list, a franchise company must have a minimum of 10 units with at least one based in the United States, must be seeking new franchisees in the United States and cannot be in Chapter 11 at the time the ranking is compiled.

All companies are judged by objective measures of a franchise operation, regardless of size, according to Entrepreneur. Financial strength and stability, growth rate and size of the system are the most important factors that the magazine takes into consideration. Other criteria include the number of years a company has been in business and the length of time it has been franchising as well as start-up costs, litigation, percentage of terminations and whether the company provides financing.

“Franchises are not only a great avenue to business ownership for many with a thirsty entrepreneurial spirit, but they’re also capable of playing a key role in carrying us into a growing economy,” Amy Cosper, vice president and editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur, said in a statement. “The $153.7 billion in total payroll and 7.9 million jobs they account for speak to that loud and clear, and the ones that made this year’s Franchise 500 are a great place for anyone to start their search for the right business.”

2011 Entrepreneur Franchise 500 (fitness franchise companies only):

17. Jazzercise Inc.
18. Anytime Fitness
33. Snap Fitness
72. Gold’s Gym International
81. Planet Fitness
236. RetroFitness
283. The Little Gym
329. Fun Bus Fitness Fun on Wheels
337. Personal Training Institute
361. My Gym
401. Get in Shape for Women
447. Fitness Together
498. LA Boxing Franchise Corp.