CONCORD, OH--(Marketwire - June 14, 2010) -  It's not that there is a lot of good news for the health club industry, but there just isn't any real bad news either.

Revenues for the industry held at $23.8 billion in 2009, only off 2008's pace by 1.5 percent. When you consider the recession, the high unemployment rate and the massive numbers of foreclosures and loan defaults, that's not a horrible statistic, according to industry expert ( and former 8 Minute Abs guru Jaime Brenkus. In fact, he even knows why the industry is reasonably healthy amid a weak and floundering economy.

"It's called wellness," Brenkus said. "The industry, as a whole, is shifting its focus from just getting well-defined and fit toward the more general concept of wellness. As people are losing jobs and losing health benefits, they are realizing it is much less expensive to invest in their wellness than it is to pay for doctor visits when they get sick. If people are fit and healthy, they are far less prone to succumb to whatever bug is going around. That's money in the bank for a lot of people, and they get to enjoy a better quality of life, as well."

Brenkus understands that paradigm well, as he is also behind a chain of health clubs called Slim & Fit, which has combined the functions of personal training with the weight loss counseling and meals usually associated with outfits like Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers. Brenkus is currently expanding into new markets around the country, and is already seeing the difference in the members who join.

"A lot of people will join a gym, and go religiously for a few weeks, and then disappear, never getting the value out of their membership," he said. "Our members have a high usage rate, because we're not just about making them fit with a personal training program, but we're also about making them fit with our diet program. We're trying to deliver complete wellness, and that's the trend that kept the industry from tanking during the recession."

About Jaime Brenkus

Considered by many to be an innovator and fitness guru, Jaime Brenkus first gained national acclaim for his 8 MINUTE ABS workout, and later went on to design supermodel Kathy Ireland's "Body specifics" and "Reach" workout videos.

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Rachel Friedman