Fitness Trends for 2015
1. Body weight training. Appearing for the first time in the trends survey in 2013 (at no. 3) was body weight training, and it has taken over the top spot from last year’s first-time entry high-intensity interval training. Body weight training did not appear as an option before 2013 because it only became popular (as a defined trend) in gyms around the world during the last couple of years. This is not to say that body weight training had not been used previously; in fact, people have been using their own body weight for centuries as a form of resistance training. But new packaging particularly by commercial clubs has now made it popular in all kinds of gyms. Typical body weight training programs use minimal equipment, which makes it a very inexpensive way to exercise effectively. Most people think of body weight training as being limited to push-ups and pull-ups, but it can be much more than that. As the no. 2 position in the survey suggested last year, body weight training is a trend to watch for the future.
2. High-intensity interval training. Falling from the top spot in last year’s survey, high-intensity interval training typically involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short period of rest or recovery and typically takes less than 30 minutes to perform (although it is not uncommon for these programs to be much longer in duration). Although being offered as a possible trend in previous surveys but not making the top 20, high-intensity interval training was no. 1 in the survey for 2014 despite the warnings of many survey respondents about the potential dangers. Many of the comments claimed that clients liked this kind of program for a short time then were looking for something else while others warned that it was very popular but were concerned with a potentially high injury rate. Others working with clinical populations said that they would like to try it with their patients but would substitute high intensity with moderate intensity. Despite the warnings by some health and fitness professionals of potentially increased injury rates using high-intensity interval training, this form of exercise has become popular in gyms all over the world.
3. Educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals. Falling to no. 3 last year and maintaining that position this year, this is a trend that continues now that there are accreditations offered by national third-party accrediting organizations for health and fitness and clinical exercise program professionals. There continues to be exponential growth of educational programs at community colleges and colleges and universities that have become accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP; www.caahep.org) through the Committee on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences (CoAES; www.coaes.org) and more certification programs accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA; www.credentialingexcellence.org/NCCA). The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts “…employment of fitness trainers and instructors is expected to grow by 24% from 2010 to 2020” (http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos296.htm, cited on July 20, 2014). As the economy continues to grow and as the market for fitness professionals becomes even more crowded and more competitive, interest in some degree of regulation either from within the industry or from external sources (i.e., government) seems to be expanding. CAAHEP and NCCA are both third-party accrediting agencies; CAAHEP for academic programs and NCCA for certification programs. In 2007, CAAHEP added a Personal Fitness Trainer accreditation for certificate (1 year) and associate (2 years) degree programs. The accreditation for the academic training of the Personal Fitness Trainer joined academic program accreditation for Exercise Science (baccalaureate) and Exercise Physiology (graduate programs in either applied exercise physiology or clinical exercise physiology). Recently, the not-for-profit Coalition for the Registration of Exercise Professionals (CREP) was created by organizations that offer NCCA-accredited exercise certifications. CREP maintains the U.S. Registry of Exercise Professionals, which is recognized internationally. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Strength training. Strength training remains popular in all sectors of the health and fitness industry and for many different kinds of clients. Strength training dropped to no. 4 in last year’s survey and maintains that position for 2015 after being at the no. 2 position for 2 years but has been a strong trend since the first year of this survey. Many younger clients of both community-based programs and commercial clubs train exclusively using weights. Today, however, there are many other individuals (men and women, young and old, children, and patients with a stable chronic disease) whose main focus is on using weight training to improve or maintain strength. Many contemporary health and fitness professionals incorporate some form of strength training into a comprehensive exercise routine for their clients and for their patients. It is not uncommon at all for cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation or metabolic disease management programs to include weight training in the exercise programs for patients.
5. Personal training. As more professional personal trainers are educated and become certified (see trend no. 3), they are increasingly more accessible in all sectors of the health and fitness industry.Personal training has been in the top 10 of this survey for the past 9 years. Attention has been paid recently to the education (through third-party accreditation of CAAHEP) and certification (through third-party accreditation by NCCA) of personal trainers. Legislation has been introduced to license personal trainers in a number of states and the District of Columbia (California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Georgia, and several others), none of which has yet passed. Although there have been some minor variations of personal training (e.g., small groups as opposed to one-on-one), respondents to this survey believe that personal trainers will continue to be an important part of the professional staff of health and fitness centers. Personal trainers are employed by community-based programs, in commercial settings, in corporate wellness programs, and in medical fitness programs or are self-employed and work independently.
6. Exercise and weight loss. The combination of exercise and weight loss is a trend toward incorporating weight loss programs that emphasize caloric restriction with a sensible exercise program. Exercise in weight loss programs has been a trend since the survey began. In 2009, exercise and weight loss ranked no. 18, moving to no. 12 in 2010, no. 7 in 2011, no. 4 in 2012, and the no. 5 spot in 2013. In 2014, this trend was ranked no. 6. Organizations, particularly those that are for-profit and are in the business of providing weight loss programs, will continue to incorporate regular exercise as well as caloric restriction for weight control according to the 2015 survey. The combination of exercise and diet is essential for weight loss maintenance and can improve compliance to caloric restriction diets and in particular weight loss programs. Most of the well-publicized diet plans incorporate exercise in addition to the daily routine of providing prepared meals to their clients.
7. Yoga. Moving up the list for 2015 is Yoga after occupying the no. 10 spot last year. Yoga appeared in the top 10 in this survey in 2008, fell out of the top 20 in 2009, but seemed to make a comeback in the 2010 (no. 14) and 2011 surveys (no. 11). In 2012, Yoga was no. 11 on the list, falling to no. 14 in 2013. Yoga comes in a variety of forms including Power Yoga, Yogalates, and Bikram Yoga (the one done in hot and humid environments). Other forms of Yoga include Iyengar Yoga, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Yoga, Kripalu Yoga, Anuara Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, and Sivananda Yoga. Instructional tapes and books are abundant, as are the growing numbers of certifications for the manyYoga formats. Yoga seems to reinvent and refresh itself every year, making it a more attractive form of exercise.
8. Fitness programs for older adults. Health and fitness professionals can take advantage of this growing market by providing age-appropriate and safe exercise programs for the aging sector of the population. The highly active older adult (the athletic old) can be targeted by commercial and community-based organizations to participate in more rigorous exercise programs, including strength training and team sports. Even the frail elderly can improve their balance and ability to perform activities of daily living when provided appropriate functional fitness activities. It is assumed that people who are retired not only have greater sums of discretionary money but also have a tendency to spend it more wisely and may have more time to engage in an exercise program. Health and fitness professionals should consider developing fitness programs for people of retirement age and fill the time during the day when most gyms are underutilized (typically between 9:00 and 11:00 A.M. and 2:00 and 4:00 P.M.). The concern for the health of aging adults has been consistently at the top of this survey, and this year is no different. The baby boom generation has now aged into retirement, and because they may have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts, fitness clubs should capitalize on this exponentially growing market. Fitness programs for older adults will remain a strong trend for 2015.
9. Functional fitness. Replicating actual physical activities someone might do as a function of his or her daily routine, functional fitness is defined as using strength training to improve balance, coordination, force, power, and endurance to enhance someone’s ability to perform activities of daily living. Functional fitness first appeared on the survey in the no. 4 position in 2007 but fell to no. 8 in 2008 and no. 11 in 2009. It reappeared in the top 10 for 2010 at no. 7 and in 2011 as no. 9. In 2012, functional fitness was no. 10 and, in 2013, it was no. 8. Last year, this trend was no. 8. Some of the survey respondents said that they typically pair functional fitness with fitness programs for older adults (see trend no. 8) depending on the needs of the client.Functional fitness also is used in clinical programs to replicate activities done around the home.
10. Group personal training. Group personal training will continue to be a popular trend in 2015. The personal trainer can continue to provide the personal service clients expect but now in a small group typically of two to four, offering potentially deep discounts to each member of the group and creating an incentive for clients to put small groups together. In 2007, group personal training was no. 19 on the list. In 2008, it rose slightly to no. 15 but dropped again in 2009 to no. 19 and improved to no. 10 in 2010. In 2011, group personal training was no. 14 on the survey, no. 8 in 2012, no. 10 in 2013, and no. 9 in 2014. In these continuing challenging economic times when actual personal income may be decreasing (and almost certainly discretionary spending), personal trainers are being more creative in the way they package personal training sessions and how they market themselves. Training two or three people at the same time in a small group seems to make good economic sense for both the trainer and the client.
Here at activeNRG I actively use all these fitness trends within my personal programmes! If you want to include them in your training to use the form to the right to get your complementary consult worth £30.