Thursday, January 14, 2016 12:57 PM

2016 Fitness Trends

As with many of you working in the medical community, I get regular industry publications either via old school snail mail or electronic mail in my given field.  This time of the year many of those trade publications put out lists of predictions as to what the biggest fitness trends of the coming year will be.  Some are no brainers, and some are a little surprising. It’s always a proud moment for me to see something on those lists that I am already doing in my craft or trade.  How can you not love already being in front of the power curve?!?  It is also important to say that every publication’s list will vary a bit, but for the most part, the many predictions I have seen are fairly similar.  So without further ado, I give you the list of biggest fitness trends of 2016:

  1. Wear-able Tech
    • You would have to be living under a rock to not know Fitbit and Garmin are king here!  I would include any fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, and GPS tracking devices here.  This is a pretty unanimous chart topper for most fitness trend lists that I have seen this winter.
  2. Body Weight Training
    • We are talking more than just your garden variety, high school gym class push-ups and pull-ups here.  Think planks, bear crawls, plyometrics, burpees, wall sits, squats, lunges, step-ups, donkey kicks, flutter kicks, bridges, etc., etc.  I think you get the point. It is cheap, simple, quick and improves balance, flexibility and strength all at the same time.
  3. HIIT
    • High Intensity Interval Training.  Basically it is short bursts of intense movement or activity followed by short periods of rest in between.  A full body HIIT workout can be done in as little as 30min. 
  4. Functional Fitness
    • Simply put, it is a workout filled with movements that strengthen and mimic the usual daily activities of your every day life.  Functional fitness is usually most associated with a fitness routine geared toward an older population.  However, in my own personal experience it is extremely well suited for anyone working in a profession with any kind of repetitive motion as well.
  5. Small Boutique Gyms and Personal Training Studios
    • Boutique Gyms and small personal training studios saw a 42% growth rate in the fitness industry in 2015.  This is a trend that looks like it will carry over to this year as well and has proven to be a solid niche market.  In some markets the growth of small fitness facilities actually out paced that of bigger national chain gyms for membership.  Things like crowds, staff, cleanliness and billing issues were the leading issues driving gym members from big gyms to their smaller counterparts.
  6. Personal Training
    • Personal Training actually makes the list twice but for two different reasons.  The first is the popularity of hiring a personal trainer.  The reasons stated for hiring a trainer would be for accountability, expertise, motivation to push hard during workouts, reduce possibility of injuries, identify and set attainable goals, personalized workout plans, etc.  The other reason personal training made the list is the growing number of personal trainers in the workforce.  The benefit to you, the customer, is that as the number of personal trainers grows…so does the quality and education of said personal trainers.  Think about it this way: as the talent pool grows it becomes harder and harder to stand out from the rest. The best way to stand out is to invest in your craft, i.e., raise the bar when it comes to the standard of your education.  So we are starting to see more and more trainers attaining some of the more reputable personal training certificates like NASM, ACSM, AFFA, and ACE instead of the cheaper online study course certificates.  Better yet, there is a growing number of personal trainers with BS degrees like Kinesiology, Exercise Science, Nutrition or other related college degrees. 
  7. Foam Rolling
    • I will admit this one surprised me and I saw it on several different publications lists of 2016 trends.  Foam rollers certainly aren’t anything new.   I can remember being introduced to them in the first gym I worked at as a personal trainer back in 1995.  They are a great tool for warming up and/or cooling down or as a do it yourself free deep tissue massage.  
  8. Yoga
    • Yoga is another one that has been around forever but is certainly trending up.  This might be due to the many variations such as Hatha Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, Hot Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Salty Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Bikram Yoga, etc., etc.
Rounding out the top ten list is fitness for older populations and sport-specific training.  In my mind, these can both be classified under functional training.  Some of the other trends that are popular and trending up, but not quite popular enough to make the top ten list would be worksite health /wellness promotion, group personal training, circuit training, core training, smart phone exercise apps and wellness coaching.  Come on in to the Employee Fitness Center and let us help you be one of the 2016 trend setters!