Austin Business Journal

Fitness social clubs encourage members to get in shape

Amy E. Lemen
Contributing writer

The thought of heading to a gym at the start of a new year and encountering strangers who are trying to get in shape can be intimidating.

But it’s that we’re-in-this-together philosophy that’s driving the growth of fitness social clubs.

” Exercise is more fun; you’re more motivated and more accountable if you’re doing it with other people,” says Patrick McCluskey, founder and CEO of Exercise Friends Inc., an Austin-based company that matches fitness enthusiasts with workout partners through ExerciseFriends.com.

Austin Sports and Social Club Inc. (www.austinssc.com) is another exercise and social group that’s encouraging people to get active and meet new people.

Founded by Marc Tucci in September 2005, the club started with kickball teams and expanded to include flag football and volleyball. Tucci says response has been great. ” The sport and social club concept really defines it,” he says. “It’s a lot of fun, and people join to get some exercise and have a good time.”

Users go to the Web site and pay $45 to be placed on a team. Groups can form their own teams for fees that range from $395 for volleyball to $495 for softball.

Fees include shirts, payment of officials or referees and happy hour specials at local watering holes.

Tucci is working on getting sponsorships through major beer distributors, as well as more partnerships with local bars. As for competition, he says it’s mainly with Austin’s city sports leagues.

“With the city, you need to find your own team, but we do all the legwork for you and pair you up by age group, skill level, whatever you prefer,” Tucci says.

Amy E. Lemen is a freelance writer.

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