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Is Your Fitness Trending

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By Kim Wagler, BA, CPT

The fitness industry has absolutely exploded over the last decade. Nationwide chains are popping up on every corner. Privately owned one-man shows are appearing in someone’s garage or a friend’s office building. There are now corporate wellness options as well as big box gyms starting to “specialize” in small group and personal training. Over the past 15 years being in the industry I’ve seen many trends come and go. We as health professionals have recommended the vibrating belts, aerobics, weight training, 7 minute abs, HIIT training, yoga, and yes even fat burning shoes! So why are you still listening to us?

    Truth be told, the majority of fitness professionals are just like you. They hear something, they believe it, and they preach it until they realize it isn’t working. With our society in worse shape than we’ve ever been we need you to help us make a change. But how???
    I want to encourage you to do your own research, and become in control of your own health. While it’s good to have the accountability and education from a coach, you are still responsible to make sure that what you are doing is benefiting you in the long run. So here are some upcoming trends you will see in the fitness arena and my thoughts on them.
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    Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition: This is becoming a main focus for many people thanks to the now common quotes, “you can’t out train a bad diet” and “abs are made in the kitchen”. Truth be told, this is the key to success for several reasons.
    1. While you can spend 30 minutes a day exercising and then forget about it, you have to constantly be fueling your body for energy. This requires you to make a number of healthy choices throughout the day. As we get tired or stressed, our willpower declines setting us up for a bad decision.
    2. What you give your body for fuel will be what leads to how much energy and focus you have. This will either allow you to accomplish your goals or not.
    3. With more and more health issues related to the food we eat (allergies, leaky gut, metabolic syndrome) there is no short cut to achieving health other than finding a nutrition plan that works for your body.

    Kim’s prediction: Nutrition is going to continue to increase in importance and soon all fitness programs will have to have a Dietitian on hand to make sure people are getting the help they need in these areas.

    Small Group Training: Although this has been around for quite some time it has just started taking off in our area within the past 5 years. The concept of being able to get a personalized program with a trainer plus having a team of people to support each other is extremely motivating for many people.

    Kim’s prediction: I truly believe this style of program will help many people get the guidance and accountability they need to achieve the results they want without breaking the bank.

    30 Minute Sessions: More and more studies are showing that 30 minutes of focused exercise daily is all we need to achieve wellness. If you create a game plan that includes 30 minutes of movement daily (you can even break that up into three 10 minute sessions or two 15 minute sessions), you will find yourself with a stronger heart, decreased risk of disease, improved ability to handle stress, and many other enhancements to your lifestyle.

    Kim’s prediction: Gone are the days of hours and hours of endless cardio to burn calories. We are too busy and too smart to sit on a machine when all it takes is a structured plan to get results.

    Body Weight Training Equipment: Thanks to TRX (suspension training system) this has quickly become one of the hottest trends in the industry to the point that they are even offering specialized certifications. Inspired by a Navy Seal to be able to maintain physical conditioning while on deployment, this type of training includes bands, balls, and/or suspension equipment where you can leverage your body to create a higher resistance/intensity or lower depending on your fitness level or goals. This also allows you to exercise pretty much anywhere, so your excuses are now invalid.

    Kim’s prediction: The new pieces of equipment that will come out will have multiple uses as well as be compact and easily transportable. These will be marketed to the masses through educational videos and celebrity trainer endorsements but are not completely necessary to achieving your goals. Remember, these are just tools to achieve your goals but will not do it for you.

    Wearable Tracking Technology: We’ve found ourselves with plenty of options when it comes to all the new tracking technology out there. These devices help give us a more accurate account of how many calories we are burning, how our heart rate reacts to different stresses and how much movement is in our day. These devices have evolved over the past 2 years to provide more motivation to get moving by giving us “rewards” or acknowledgment when we reach a goal and even alerts to let us know it’s time to stand up.

    Kim’s prediction: This will become mainstream and everyone will have access to knowing exactly how many calories, steps, MEPs (myzone effort points) they burn along with knowing their heart rate. I believe this industry will continue evolving to give more accurate real time feedback.

    Simplicity: We are finding our society trying to get back to the basics. It’s tiring trying to keep up with all the new diets, fitness equipment, classes, technology, etc. People live such high strung lives so this trend is being embraced more and more to try and balance out the chaos of life. Creating a simpler game plan that includes quality movement, clean foods, and stress management techniques is the theme of this lifestyle.

    Kim’s prediction: I am keeping my fingers crossed that this becomes more and more relevant in our society. We need to slow down and figure out what it is we are fighting so hard for. Is it more money because you will spend your health to get enough money and then spend your money to get back your health. This will take time for people to embrace and the Type A personality (like me) will always have a harder time making this a part of life.

    Corporate Wellness: Americans spend more time at work than any other developed country. As employers are seeing health care costs increase, there is a huge push to improve the physical health of their companies. Options such as on-site fitness classes, lunch and learns, company fitness challenges, discounts to local fitness facilities, and even on-site chefs are becoming more and more common. Employers are finding that they do have an impact on health care costs, but the improvement in company morale, absenteeism, and productivity has also improved the bottom line and created a more stable work environment.

    Kim’s prediction: As companies employ more millennials, this will become essential to keeping good staffing. This generation is looking for more than compensation and they are more focused on their heath than GenX or baby boomers were at their age.

    Restorative/Recovery Training: Taking time to recover from a session is the only way to rebuild tissue damage and ultimately keep your body healthy. Yoga, stretch sessions, massage, EMS (electronic muscle stimulations), sleep, hydration/nutrition to name a few are great ways to regenerate the damage that we do to our system daily.

    Kim’s prediction: Gone are the days where beating your body to a pulp is the only way to achieve results. We are talking about maximizing your time spent in the gym and utilizing your body’s capability to grow through proper techniques. We often say, “I’ll stretch later,” but we don’t. This style of training will make sure we take the time to give our body what it needs. I hope this gets integrated into everyone’s health routine.

    As the health industry continues to evolve and offer you everything under the sun just remember that each of you are unique and created differently. What works for your friend may not be the best option for you. Learn to know your body and experiment to find the best options for you.
    Is Your Fitness Trending