As we work our way through 2012, we have seen certain fitness trends fade (such as use of bulky cardio equipment and long-lasting high-impact aerobic sessions), and others gain tremendous popularity (like Zumba and Bootcamp-style classes). Here is my list of upcoming fitness trends, which I have formulated using my own experience and observations working in the fitness industry, as well as some research.
1) Functional training. The objective of functional fitness is to improve strength, balance, conditioning, and coordination by doing movements that we use in our everyday lives – such as squatting, lifting, bending, and reaching. Functional training programs not only make us stronger and more fit, but help us do real world tasks like lifting our children and carrying luggage or groceries.
Most Americans spend greater than 20 hours a day sitting or lying down between sleeping, sitting at a desk, and coming home to eat dinner and watch TV!! So instead of going to the gym to sit on a stationary bike and lay on the floor to do crunches, functional training uses the whole body to increase function and fitness. Classes/Programs that focus on functional fitness include: TRX or suspension training, Bootcamp, P90X, CrossFit, and Kettlebells.
2) HIIT – or High Intensity Interval Training. This is one of my FAVORITES!! We have learned that you can achieve better results from 20 minutes of hard work than from 60 minutes of less challenging exercise. The “trick” is HIIT – alternating short periods of very intense work with periods of recovery. There are multiple ways to incorporate HIIT into your exercise regimen — you can incorporate intervals (think sprints) into any individual cardio program, and some classes incorporate HIIT (I LOVE using HIIT in my spin classes!).
3) Mind/body workouts. Yoga has been popular for decades, and remains a fantastic way to improve flexibility, core strength, and relieve stress. In the past, many people have looked to yoga solely for these reasons. However, classes like “power yoga” are becoming more popular as people look to yoga to really sweat and strengthen.
Many gyms and studios are combining yoga with other types of strength or aerobic exercise to offer a more well-rounded program. One example of this includes Cy-Yo, a one-hour workout combining 10 minutes of yoga, 40 minutes of speed cycling on a stationary bike, then 10 more minutes of yoga to cool down and refocus the mind.
4) Technology. As we become more and more tech-savvy, there is an ever-increasing number of tools and resources to help us reach our fitness goals. There are countless sites and apps to help you learn, make progress, and stay accountable. Use these to help you find classes at your gym, log and track your exercise/weight, monitor your heart rate, train for a 5k, and work your way up to 100 push-ups!
5) Small group training. More people are seeking out gyms and studios that specialize in one-on-one or small group personal training and classes. Although they are pricier than most large gyms, the small class size allows the instructors to spend more time focusing on each participant to help correct form and maximize outcomes.
6) Buddy up! Use your dog as an excuse to take a daily long walk. Or partner up with a friend, family member, or fitness instructor to keep you accountable. If these are not options for you, become a member of an online community of people who are health-focused like you are.
As we look toward the 2013, try something new! Think outside the box of what you are used to. What on this list has gotten you intrigued??