Try your hand at the stock market by investing in these hot fitness companies—plus, get stock tips for spotting a winning brand before it hits the board

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Did you make a health or fitness-related resolution this year? As one look around a crowded gym in January can tell you, you're (literally) not alone. This is the time of year when practically everyone decides to hit the gym more often, shed a few pounds, or set new fitness goals, like to run a marathon. (Find out How to Set Resolutions You'll Actually Keep.)

But here's something you may not have thought about: If you're new to exercise, or just wanting to give yourself some renewed motivation, you'll need new gear, and maybe even a gym membership. And so will all your gym companions. This surplus in new exercisers means an increase in dollars being poured into businesses like shoe and apparel companies, fitness tech companies, and more, says Brian Sozzi, Special Features Correspondent for The Street, a digital financial media company.

Translation: It's a good time to invest in a fitness company. Good news for those of us who also made a resolution to fatten up our wallet. (You should be following these Money-Saving Tips for Getting Fiscally Fit.) Whether you're a seasoned investor or don't yet have a portfolio and just want to buy a few shares, here's what you should do first.

"Go into your closet and see where you have been spending the most money," says Sozzi. Got 18 pairs of Lululemon leggings? Six pairs of Nike kicks? (Check out The New Nike Apparal You'll Want ASAP.) Look into those companies first. Chances are, if you're fitness-minded, the brands you're already buying are ones that others new to exercise will want too, says Sozzi.

Once you have a few companies in mind, head to their websites and go to the investor relations page to find an annual report (this should be readily accessible for most publicly traded companies). "This report will tell you how the company has been doing financially for the last 12 months, and what they plan to do next, so you can decide if it's a smart investment," explains Sozzi, who advises talking with a financial advisor if this is all brand new to you.

Or skip the research and pick one (or more!) of these companies that Sozzi thinks are solid choices: Lululemon, NIKE, Under Armour, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Apple. (Have you heard about these 3 Amazing Features of the Apple Watch?)

One last tip: Sozzi thinks smaller, cheaper gyms, like Planet Fitness, are soon-to-be very smart investments. Most of these companies are not yet publically traded, though, so keep your ears open for news on when they might be! Get ready to watch your wallet grow as your waistline shrinks.