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Perfect Fit These creative fitness businesses shaped up into franchises.

By Tracy Stapp Herold

Although over 42.7 million Americans have health-club memberships, on average, they go to the gym less than eight times a month, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association. Several new fitness franchises are finding unique ways to motivate their members to not just sign up, but also show up.

Battle of the Bulge
Todd Scott of Platoon Fitness has been known to go to the home or workplace of a Platoon client who's AWOL, staging a workout in the driveway or parking lot and shouting the MIA cadet's name. Scott launched Platoon Fitness--a daily boot camp-style fitness regime done outdoors year-round, rain or shine--from his basement in 1999. Daily contact and feedback create an encouraging rapport between the instructors and trainees, who pay per month, not per session. "It delivers results because of the camaraderie and cultlike atmosphere," says Scott, who gives members their money back if the program doesn't work for them. In 2006, the company started franchising to aspiring drill sergeants looking to offer an alternative to stuffy megagyms. To start, Platoon franchisees only need to rent public park space for an hour or so each day and recruit customers looking for in-your-face motivation. The franchise opportunity is low-cost and initially home based, with the option to grow into a brick-and-mortar personal training center. --E.W.

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