Throughout the month of January, The Horizon Business Funding Blog has loaned its pages to the business of beauty and fitness. We began by telling you, “US.gov lists 13 Popular New Year’s Resolutions. Nearly half of those deal with getting healthier and looking better.” So the blog this month has highlighted gyms and beauty salons, given tips for healthier eating and looked at the latest — and most profitable — industry trends. Here is a look back at what we learned: Google searches for terms like “diet” go up every January. Hyper-speacialized business like DryBar (blowouts) and SoulCyle (spin class) are sweeping the nation, making the chains’ founders very wealthy Tough Mudder events include 10 to 12 mile obstacle courses that have been set up around the world and  is “probably the toughest event on the plant” — according to big block letters on the extreme sport company’s website. Emmanuel Verstraeten dreams of dressing up menus across the globe with a little red logo. His script SPE — Sanitas Per

Ferrets loan insight into why humans run

Wednesday, 30, January , 2013 by

  Do you like to run? I don’t either. But thanks to evolution, we are apparently hard wired to do so. A study completed  by University of Arizona anthropologists last year found evidence that humans run, at lease in part, to experience a runners high. According to The New York Times, the study started with a question posed by David A. Raichlen (the professor), “running is costly, metabolically. It incinerates energy. It can also cause injury. A twisted ankle would have removed your typical early human from the gene pool. So why did our ancestors continue to run over the millennia “and not evolve other strategies for survival?”” The Times article details how Raichlen and his team harnessed a motley crew of humans, dogs and ferrets to test endocannabinoid levels after running, walking and at rest. Endocannabinoid is a naturally produced chemical associated with pleasure. It turns out humans and dogs — natural runners — produce the chemical after running but not walking. Ferrets — natural sleepers

  Since childhood we have all been informed that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Nevertheless many of us skimp on the first meal. According to a survey by the NDN group, 31 million (10%) Americans skip the morning meal all together. Unless coffee counts, I have long been the same. Often because I simply forget. However, this month, I have been making the meal a priority as a part of my attempt to live better in 2013. In order to finish January strong, I went all in this week by adding chia seeds — an up and coming ‘super food’ — to my morning routine. On Sunday night I made coconut-almond chia seed pudding. The simple Food & Wine inspired recipe mashes together coconut milk, almond milk, agave nectar (I used honey) and chia seeds. Chias look like sesame seeds until submerged in liquid for a while. After a night in the fridge the little black seeds had a clear coating and the consistency of

Spartan Race Throws Hat Into Olympic Ring

Monday, 28, January , 2013 by

  How many people need to participate in a sport for it to be considered for olympic competition? A quick Google search reveals there is not clear cut answer to this question. However, founder of Spartan Race Joe DeSena, thinks the number lies between 250,000 and 500,000. In other words, somewhere between the number of people who participated in his hard core obstacle course races in 2012 and the number expected to participate in 2013. “I can’t imagine there are more people doing curling than Spartan Racing,” DeSena recently told Forbes. DeSena explained that he set out to design an event that would “break” participants. He does this by covering three, eight and ten to twelve mile courses with barbed wire, mud and tires. He also adds some ropes to climb and walls to scale. “The people that don’t get broken, these are the people we want to hang out with,” he said. It would seem DeSena has made a lot of new friends since founding the company

  Have you ever felt winded after walking up a few flights of stairs and thought, ‘so that’s why I need to work out?’ If yes, you are not alone and you are beginning to understand what MovNat fitness program is all about. Except if your workout was left up to MovNat founder Erwan Le Corre those stairs would be a mountain and the ceiling would be replaced by  the (not necessarily blue) sky. Le Corre founded MovNat in 2008. Regarded as one of the fittest men in the world, he came to feel the fitness system is broken, not truly serving our physical or emotional needs. MovNat.com explains, “Many of us find ourselves increasingly disconnected from nature and our universal biological needs. Boxed into cubicles and cars, viewing the world through a flickering box on a wall, exercising on graceless machines in box gyms, we feel dissatisfied and stressed, our senses dulled; we are prisoners of the human zoo. Time to break out. Time

A recent Yoga Journal study found that 20.4 million Americans practice yoga. This figure is, a 29% jump from when the magazine last completed a comparable study in 2008, represents 8.7% of adults in this country. Such a large number of people bring tremendous business opportunity. According to IBISWorld data, there are nearly 25,000 yoga or pilates studios in the United States. In 2012 the industry employed 109,000 people and did $7.7 billion in sales. Since 2007 the field has had a 7.7% growth rate. No single company dominates the market, as most studio owner maintain small businesses. However, according to a recent article in The New York Times other industries are starting to capitalize on the popularity of yoga. The newspaper explains, “ Hotels are providing yoga equipment and videos in guest rooms, as well as classes, often for no charge, while airports are offering yoga studios to passengers in transit.” For hotels large and small, the cost of providing a yoga mat or even daily yoga classes

  For the third year in a row Equinox gym brought in famed (and controversial) fashion photographer Terry Richardson to shoot it’s ad campaign. If you live in a big city (think New York or Los Angeles), you have probably seen the provocative  images that resulted  — if not you will soon. The ads are hard to miss. In them, barely clothed models climb stairs, play pool or get in on the “action.” All with the tag line, “By Equinox,” (and curiously often in stilettos). Each year, the luxury fitness club gets a bad rap for being too provocative and for putting out ads that have little to do with working-out. The gym, which has 58-locations, has argued that the service they loan is as much about life as it is about hard-core fitness. The body you get by working out with Equinox, the campaign suggests, loans you an exciting life. Since storming the gym scene in the early 2000s, Equinox has used high prices,

  With more than 70 franchise locations, nearly as many in the works and 2011 revenue of $3.7 million — LA Boxing will soon be no more. Earlier this week, news broke that The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has purchased LA Boxing, one of the biggest and oldest boxing fitness centers in the country. UFC President Dana White made the announcement from Las Vegas and explained that all LA Boxing locations will eventually be converted to UFC Gyms. In June, Philip Jacobs, LA Boxing’s head of franchising told ClubIndustry.com,“We believe that boxers are the most well-conditioned athletes in the world, and they did not get like that by getting punched.”  The franchising veteran went on to say,“They got like that by working out and dedicating to a routine. So that is what we’ve done. We took the exercising and the dedication that makes a boxer so well-conditioned and put it in a clean, friendly and welcoming environment suitable to soccer moms, dads and their kids.” Founded in

  Two friends recently completed a marathon. Although they both trained in the months before the event, they generally completed their runs alone. One had time before work, the other after. But before each run the runners would press a button on their iPhones telling Nike+ to track their distance, time and calories burned. According to a recent study out of Michigan State University’s Department of Kinesiology, this team of runners was doing everything right. Doctoral student Brandon Irwin divided 58 women into groups. The first group worked out alone, the second worked out as a team and the third combined team exercise with virtual buddies. All workouts were completed on stationary bikes and the study completed over six sessions. Team three was told their buddies were slightly better cyclists, were shown pre-recorded videos of the women and could see their partner on a screen. The women were lead to believe the partner was in another lab. These partners, it turned out, were completely virtual

Diet related Google search surge in January

Saturday, 05, January , 2013 by

Psychiatrists recently completed a study which found that Americans search Google for diet and weight loss related terms more in January than in any other month of the year. Starting with January 2005, a team from Villanova University tracked keywords such as “diet,” “Atkins,” “Weight Watchers” and “Nutrisystem.” They found a clear trend, with diet searches picking up by nearly 30% after the new year and decreasing steadily there after. (That is until the following January.) Perhaps even more interestingly, the study found that the increase in these searches was greater in states with high levels of obesity. From a business perspective, this study offers a tremendous amount of opportunity. When you search “diet,” for example, Google’s yellow ad boxes fill with links to Medifast, “Lose Belly Fat Naturally” and “Easiest Diet Ever.” These companies are taking advantage of the diet search craze. It is likely that these companies are buying Google ads throughout the year, but hopefully they are optimizing the New Year’s resolution surge.

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