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Opportunities in the Fitness Industry in San Diego

San Diego is famous for its beautiful beaches and sunny weather, so it’s no wonder getting fit and healthy is big business in the city. The American Fitness Index 2018 found that 82.3 percent of San Diegans exercised in the 30 days before taking the survey. Despite this, only 23 percent were meeting both aerobic and strength activity guidelines, meaning there’s still plenty of room for the industry to grow.

People are also willing to spend money on their fitness. In 2018, the industry made $33 billion in revenue in the United States, a number which has grown 2.6 percent since 2013. As people have more expendable income, they’re willing to spend it on their health. With many business options available for fitness fanatics, you’re sure to find something to pour your energy into.

A Place to Get Fit

The most obvious fitness business is providing people with a place to get fit. Gyms are the traditional option and are still very popular with customers. Buying equipment can increase the start-up cost, but purchasing a franchise or established gym can give you a head start in the industry.

Boutique gyms are a growing corner of the market, offering specific activities including dance-based classes, high intensity interval training and yoga. If you have a passion for a specific type of exercise, you can plunge into the market to find similarly inspired people.

Staying Active

With the sun, sand and sea that San Diego is known for, many locals like going outside to get their exercise rather than heading to the treadmill. Surfing at Lowers or La Jolla is a great way to get fit, and stand-up paddle boarding is becoming more popular as well. Offering lessons or equipment for these or other activities can be a great way to build a business.

Away from the water, climbing activities are becoming popular. Indoor rock-climbing gyms continue to be successful, though taking people out to Joshua Tree or Santee Boulders is a sunnier option. Obstacle courses, fueled by the popularity of American Ninja Warrior, are also gaining traction.

Niche Markets

You may have heard that the riches are in the niches, which is as true in the fitness industry as any other. More than one-third of children in San Diego County were overweight or obese in 2015, so if you want to help kids, this is a great niche to get into. Likewise, seniors often lose muscle mass and fitness as they age. You can offer classes in retirement villages and senior centers, which also decreases your start-up costs as you won’t need to find your own venue.

Some people combine two wildly different areas to find a niche. Weight-lifting for marathon runners or yoga for cyclists are two options. Although you may have to search harder for a smaller market, your customers may be willing to pay a premium for programs designed with them in mind.

Fitness Tourism

San Diego’s 35 million visitors spend around $10.8 billion in the city each year. The sunshine attracts tourists who want to spend their time outside, and offering fitness-based activities can be a lucrative niche — think surf camps, yoga on the beach or guided hikes on San Diego’s trails.

Supplying the Fitness Industry

Don’t forget about the businesses that support the fitness industry. Sports supplies and food supplements continue to be required by both gyms and their members. Helping people with their injuries through massage or physiotherapy is also needed. Lastly, technology can never be overlooked. Look for gaps in the market. There may not be a need for new wearables, but maybe an app for gym goers to track their performance could make a big splash.

There are many niches in the fitness industry that offer you the opportunity to break into a $33 billion dollar industry. If you're willing to sweat it out and strive for greatness you can make it to the front of the fitness pack.

 To sell your fitness business or to buy a business in the fitness industry, contact LINK San Diego and speak to a fitness industry business broker at (858) 452-3000 or email at