Fitness trends 2015: Body weight training rocks
WELL-BEING - Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit (The Philippine Star) - January 6, 2015 - 12:00am

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in their last health and fitness journal for the year featured the “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2015: What’s Driving the Market” by Walter R. Thompson PhD, FACSM. Thompson is associate dean for Graduate Studies and Research in the College of Education at Georgia State University and is currently the elected vice president of ACSM.

All 39 possible trends for 2015 are included in the survey.  This is composed of the top 25 trends from previous years plus 10 emerging trends identified by editors of the journal representing all the four health sectors of the health fitness industry (corporate, clinical, community, and commercial). A total of 3,403 health fitness professionals participated in the survey — from Barbados, Brazil, Brunei, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United States, and United Kingdom.  

“The same top trends identified in 2008 to 2012 appeared as top trends for 2013, just in a different order, with educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals maintaining the no. 1 spot; fitness programs for older adults dropping to no. 6; and strength training remaining at no. 2. Introduced for 2013 for the first time was body weight training, which landed at no. 1 in this year’s survey. The 2015 survey seems to reinforce the findings of previous years, which was expected when tracking trends and not fads,” Thompson clarifies. 

Here are excerpts from his survey:

• Body weight training. People have been using their 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.

• High-intensity interval training. 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. While it is very popular, many are concerned with a potentially high injury rate. Despite the warnings of potentially increased injury rates using high-intensity interval training, this form of exercise has become popular in gyms all over the world.

• Educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals. The US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts “…employment of fitness trainers and instructors is expected to grow by 24% from 2010 to 2020.” 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, seems to be expanding.

• Strength training. 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. 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.

• Personal training. As more professional personal trainers are educated and become certified, they are increasingly more accessible in all sectors of the health and fitness industry. Attention has been paid recently to the education and certification of personal trainers. 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.

• Exercise and weight loss. The combination of exercise and weight loss is a trend towards incorporating weight loss programs that emphasize caloric restriction with a sensible exercise program. The combination of exercise and diet is essential for weight loss maintenance and can improve compliance with caloric restriction diets and, in particular, weight loss programs.

• Yoga. Yoga comes in a variety of forms, including Power Yoga, Yogalates, Bikram Yoga (the one done in hot and humid environments), Iyengar Yoga, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Yoga, Kripalu Yoga, Anuara Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, and Sivananda Yoga. Yoga seems to reinvent and refresh itself every year, making it a more attractive form of exercise.

• 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. 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 and 11a.m. and 2 and 4 p.m.).

• Functional fitness. Replicating actual physical activities someone might do as a function of his/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.

• Group personal training. 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. 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.

• Worksite health promotion. Designed to improve the health and well-being of employees, this is a trend for a range of programs and services that evaluate health, health care costs, and worker productivity. Once a need is determined, worksite health promotion professionals build programs based on the greatest need. Many of these programs are housed physically within the company or corporation campus, whereas other programs contract with independent commercial or community-based programs.

• Outdoor activities. Outdoor activities often include hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and games or sports. Outdoor activities can also include high-adventure programs such as overnight camping trips. Some personal trainers use outdoor activities as a form of small group personal training.

• Wellness coaching. Wellness coaching integrates behavioral change science into health promotion, disease prevention, and rehabilitation programs. Wellness coaching often uses a one-on-one approach similar to a personal trainer, with the coach providing support, guidance, and encouragement. The wellness coach focuses on the client’s values, needs, vision, and goals.

•. Circuit training. Circuit training is similar to high-intensity interval training but at a much lower intensity. Circuit training is a group of six to 10 exercises that are completed one after another and in a predetermined sequence. Each exercise is performed for a specified number of repetitions or for a set period before having a quick rest and moving on to the next exercise.

• Core training. Core training stresses strength and conditioning of the stabilizing muscles of the abdomen, thorax, and back. It typically includes exercises of the hips, lower back, and abdomen, all of which provide support for the spine and thorax. Exercising the core muscles improves overall stability of the trunk and transfers that to the extremities, enabling the individual to meet the demands of activities of daily living and for the performance of various sports that require strength, speed, and agility. Core training often uses stabilizing devices such as exercise balls, BOSU balls, wobble boards, and foam rollers.

• Sport-specific training. This trend incorporates sport-specific training for sports such as baseball and tennis, designed especially for young athletes. For example, a high school athlete might join a commercial or community-based fitness organization to help develop skills during the off-season and to increase strength and endurance specific to that sport, something like functional fitness for sport performance.

• Children and exercise for the treatment/prevention of obesity. Childhood and adolescent obesity continues to be a major health issue in most developed and developing nations and is important because of its association with other medical issues such as diabetes and hypertension.

• Outcome measurements. A trend that addresses accountability, these are efforts to define and track outcomes to prove that a selected program actually works. Measurements are necessary to determine the benefits of health and fitness programs in disease management and to document success in changing negative lifestyle habits.

• Worker incentive programs. This is a trend that creates incentive programs to stimulate positive healthy behavior change as part of employer-based health promotion programming and health care benefits. Worker incentive programs are prompted by rising health care costs experienced by both small and large companies and corporations.

• Boot camp. Boot camp is a high-intensity structured activity patterned after military-style training. Boot camp includes cardiovascular, strength, endurance, and flexibility drills. Boot camps also can combine sports-type drills and calisthenics.

With a lot of options to take away the boredom of exercising, you can dump all your excuses for not exercising in 2015!

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