Madonna to open luxury gym for Moscow elite

U.S. singer Madonna arrives to open Hard Candy Fitness gym in Mexico City, November 29, 2010. REUTERS/Henry Romero

MOSCOW (Reuters Life!) - Queen of pop and health guru Madonna will open a gym early next year near Red Square for Moscow’s designer-clad elite, who spend exorbitant sums on a fitness frenzy that has gripped the capital.

The state-of-the-art gym, to open in mid-March, will be the second of Madonna’s “Hard Candy Fitness” gyms. The 52-year-old launched the brand in Mexico City last month.

“I know that we will create the ideal workout environment in Moscow,” the American singer said in a statement.

The spacious 35,000 square feet (3,250 square meter) gym is a partnership between Madonna, the U.S.-based private equity firm New Evolution Ventures (NeV) and Irina Razumova, founder of Russian luxury gym chain Planet Fitness.

Western-style gyms have mushroomed across Russia in recent years, with Moscow memberships costing as much as $25,000 a year. Demand for designer gym clothes has soared.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a judo black belt, has said fitness is vital for his nation, where male life expectancy is just 59.

NeV is eyeing 10 more Hard Candy gyms in Brazil, Argentina, Europe and Asia, the statement said. (Reporting by Amie Ferris-Rotman, editing by Tim Pearce)