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Madonna's 'Hard Candy' gym empire
The Material Girl is soon to open her first gym in a proposed worldwide chain — prompting some critics to flex their mockery muscles
Are the 52-year old's "bulging biceps" a good advertisement for her new chain of fitness centers?
Are the 52-year old's "bulging biceps" a good advertisement for her new chain of fitness centers?
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he has been a singer, actress, director, music producer, children's novelist, and fashion designer. Now, Madonna is turning fitness guru with the launch of her string of high-end gyms. Her first Hard Candy Fitness Center opens in Mexico City at the end of November, and 10 more outlets are in the works for South America, Russia, and Europe. "Our goal is to create an environment inspired by Madonna's... high standards of what the ideal gym would be," says business partner Mark Mastrov, of the 24 Hour Fitness empire. "Madonna's touch will be everywhere." Will the venture fly?

Madonna's "touch" sounds pretty creepy: "'My Touch Is Everywhere' actually kind of sounds like a Madonna song," says Richard Lawson in Gawker. But what will it bring to her gym? Knowing how well-preserved Madonna is, we're thinking "professional re-boning machines... skin-resurrecting devices" and "top quality Swedish de-knobblers for knees and elbows."

What ever happened to rock debauchery? "So long, sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, and hello meditation, energy drinks, and yoga," says Todd Martens in the Los Angeles Times. Even Mick Jagger's on a strict diet these days. Madonna's gym is the logical progression, I guess. What's next, a "La Isla Bonita spa and Like a Virgin daycare center"?

As long as I don't turn into Madonna, I'll use her gym: "Aside from the weirdness of associating candy with fitness, these sound like pretty nice gyms," says Amy Kuras in The Stir. I'll consider joining, just so long as the trainers avoid giving me Madonna's "terrifying" biceps and her affected British accent, "which I cannot mock enough. Lady, you are from Michigan. You are fooling no one."

She knows all about the fringe benefits of visiting the gym: "Madonna would be the first to tell you, there are all kinds of incentives to improve one's physical fitness," says Dave Itzkoff in The New York Times. Everything from "increased energy and improved health to the possibility that your personal trainer might become the father of your first child."

Her "Blond Ambition" won't stop here: If she can open a gym, says Kyle Anderson at MTV.com, why not establish her own dojo? The "Madonna Fight Club" has a nice ring to it. Or she could do an Oprah and start "The Madonna Network," complete with "a fashion show hosted by Lourdes" and "daily screenings of Desperately Seeking Susan." When it comes to "marketing and diversification," the world is her oyster.

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