If there's a fitness trend on the horizon or one in full bloom, you're bound to find at the IDEA World Fitness Conference that happens every August. This is the convention where fitness professionals from across the globe come continue their education, promote new products and programs and get inspired.
This is also the time I like check in with my fitness colleagues and ask them what they think will be trending in the upcoming year.
I spoke to Brett Kilka, CEO of SpiderFitkids.com and celebrity fitness trainers, Alex Isaly and Amy Dixon. Here are some of the big and, still growing trends in fitness.
1. HIITs. According to this elite group of experts, HIIT is still HOT! These four letters should be part of your fitness vernacular by now, but if you don't know the acronym, it stands for High Intensity Interval Training. If you've done any kind of boot camp style workout, indoor cycling class or home workout videos like "P90X" or "Insanity," you've done them. You go really hard for a set amount of time at a particular exercise, then recover for a set amount of time and repeat. If you've heard of "Tabata," well, that's a form of HIIT training, too. If a class at your gym says a workout is "metabolic," it probably uses HIITs. HIIT was also on my list last year for big trends. The reason it's still growing in popularity is because it works for almost all levels of fitness and results come pretty fast for most people. Plus it's hard to get bored. Dixon says that these workouts can be done with almost anything from your own body weight to using various types of equipment such as rowing machines, sand bells, dumbbells, kettle bells, BOSU and medicine balls.
2. Recovery. Because of the popularity of these high intensity workouts, people are also getting really sore. Sometimes even injured. Enter the new trend of "Recovery" programs or "Self Care" workouts like Restorative Yoga classes and Self Myofascial Release (SMR) methods with massage balls and foam rollers. Klika says people are stressing their bodies so much with HIITs that they need to "recover harder" now, too. I see a new slogan: "Train Hard, Recover Harder" tee shirts anyone? Foam rollers and other SMR tools have been used by physical therapists and competitive athletes for years. Now they're picking up steam in mainstream gyms because they can be used for warm ups and cool downs.
3. Telemetry. If you're the slightest bit into tech toys, you're also onto this next growing trend in fitness, "Telemetry." It's not just for the oil and gas industry or NASA anymore. This trend includes those wristbands that track your daily activity, heart rate monitors and other wearable devices. "Competition based workouts are huge right now too," say Dixon, especially in group classes like cycling where performance metrics are displayed on a board in the room.
Many of these wearable devices sync up with apps too. But there are also just the apps themselves that you can use on your iPhone or smart phone device without having to wear anything or input data into logs. There are apps for tracking runs and bike rides, apps to track your sleep and take you heart rate. Of course there's still hundreds of other helpful apps around for health and fitness, but they require logging in your data. The automated apps and devices are the way of the future.
Klika predicts this industry, "is going to be huge in the next 5 years." He says companies that collect personal health data thru these apps and devices and figure out ways to help consumers use that data, are poised to boom. Isaly and Klika both agree that integrating personal data (i.e. heart rate, physical activity, sleep cycles, blood PH, etc.) with apps or software, will engage more people trying to live healthier lifestyle.
4. Online Workouts. The other growing tech trend is web based fitness. More and more people are participating in online fitness challenges and weight loss contests or doing their workouts with streaming videos on YouTube or iTunes for example. The once prominent DVD has seen it's heyday. Even though online fitness participation is still growing, Isaly and Klika say this is no match for a brick and mortar gym or studio where people gather and have social interaction. Brick and mortar facilities will always help people stay accountable in ways the computer can't but we all know there is a large sector of the population that will just never go to a gym.
5. Short workouts. Sometimes less is more. Just ask Klika , co-author of the scientifically based 7 Minute Workout you've probably heard about. One-hour workouts are getting haircuts. Who has the time? Now we're seeing more and more 20, 30 and 40-minute workouts. People who are put off by one-hour or longer workouts are more willing to push harder if it's for a shorter amount of time. We know HIIT's work like crazy and can also be done in circuit formats which Dixon says is making a huge come back right now because they are easy to apply to any setting. They can be set up in a studio with minimal equipment, in a gym using machines or outside with portable equipment or just body weight.
6. Kids fitness. No surprise here. P.E. programs are being cut and "sports programs have a high attrition rate due to competitiveness," according to Klika.
Kids who are not athletic have fewer outlets for fitness nowadays, leading them into an early sedentary lifestyle. This leaves the market for kids fitness wide open and will no doubt start growing by leaps and bounds. It's Marketing 101. Where there's a need, there's a market.
Are you on the forefront of fitness trends? See if your workout made it on last years list.