Feature Article - October 2005
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That Feminine Mystique

Solving the mystery of successfully marketing to women

By Stacy St. Clair

Just for Females

Women's fitness has boomed recently thanks to programs that understand what women want. For example, the circuit workout craze recognizes that many women crave a supportive, environment. It also acknowledges another important fact—in today's busy world, many women are pressed for time.

In most cases, the women are encouraged to socialize and offer moral support while exercising. The room design allows them talk and laugh as they rotate through a quick 30-minute circuit.

In fact, the trend has become so successful, similar men-only facilities are opening up. Here's a look at the three of the most successful female circuits:

Curves: Arguably the most famous of the women's workout facilities, the chain offers hydraulic fitness machines that allow clients to gain strength without having to change heavy weights—or be intimidated by the muscleheads in the free-weight section. The chain, which has more than 9,000 locations around the world, offers specialized meal plans to help clients meet weight-loss goals.

Butterfly Life: Butterfly Life operates under the belief that weight loss is only one facet of a healthy lifestyle. The chain takes what is describes as a "360-degree approach to addressing women's health and fitness." It integrates fitness and nutrition with psychology, beauty and fashion to inspire its female patrons. Each Butterfly Life franchise boasts "Life Vision" system, a mammoth-sized television screen on which members can watch 30-minute workout classes and 15-minute inspirational seminars. There are also live classes and 10 pieces of custom-designed strength equipment to help build muscle and boost metabolism.

Elements for Women: Part weight-loss center and part hydraulic workout facility, Elements strives to offer women a one-stop lifestyle shop. In addition to offering health and beauty tips, the chain's nutritional experts also help women understand and customize some of the most popular diet plans, including Atkins, The Zone and the South Beach Diet.