Cardio theater: Fitness with flicks keeps movie lovers buff

In the $22 billion a year health club industry, gyms vie for business with amenities like smoothie bars and inventive classes. Now some chains are also seeking to attract new members with a little help from Hollywood.

Tony Hernandez says he hasn't been to visit a real movie theater since he joined Retro Fitness in Maryland three months ago. The gym boasts a cardio theater -- complete with big screen, surround sound, and treadmill and elliptical machines so members can work out while catching a popular film.

"It actually feels like a movie theater except instead of sitting you're running," Hernandez told CBS News. "It distracts you from actually running, which a lot of people hate, so you're just watching a movie and by the time the movie's over you've run like three, four miles."

At Retro Fitness, the movie changes daily. Most selections veer toward light-hearted comedies or action flicks like "G.I. Joe." The gym, which charges a monthly membership fee of $19.99, also takes film requests.

Gyms that choose to show films on-site must pay an annual fee for each location to the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation, much as a regular movie theater would.

Assistant manager Sharron Lipford says the cardio theater makes going to the gym less of a chore for some members. "Their mind is lost in the movie so they're not really thinking about working out," she told CBS News.

Emma Shebest says she prefers action movies for their intensity, but any movie can work as long as it's compelling enough to stick with through the end. "They played 'Frozen' the other day and I watched the whole thing," she told CBS News.

And there's another advantage to working out in the cardio theater: "It's dark so no one is judging you," she added.