I was recently asked by a friend looking to enter the fitness industry what I believe the growing fitness trends will be over the next couple of years, this got me thinking, where is the industry headed?
Obviously it’s difficult to know with certainty what you can expect in the years to come. Will their be mechanical trainers who move your muscles for You? Will you plug in your brain to download the skills of a Ninja master? (think matrix) I hope so, or maybe someone will invent blister proof running shoes?
I have consulted my training tarots and honed in on my clairvoyance to predict what workouts might look like in the months / years ahead. While the future may be uncertain, one thing is guaranteed, there’s going to be plenty of fitness trends and equipment brands vying for your hard earned cash! Hopefully my prophecy will arm you with the knowledge of what to expect…
Goodbye Cardio Equipment
Rows of oversized treadmills and stationary bikes are unlikely to take up the lion’s share of the future gym’s floor space. I believe the bulky, boring, stationary pieces of equipment will eventually exist mainly in physical therapy settings. But what will fill the empty space?
Gyms are already expanding into their outside areas and car park spaces etc with huge tyres, giant logs, nets to crawl under, sleds, prowlers and jungle like ropes to name a few. People will exercise outside or do bodyweight circuits to build muscle, get fitter and burn fat. Think Tough Mudder, Spartan race and Desert warrior etc
Start looking for outside options like bootcamps or adventure runs (see above) To burn fat, rather than being hunched over a stationary bike. According to research at the European Centre for the Environment and Human Health, exercising in a natural environment creates significant improvements in mental well being, greater enjoyment, satisfaction and increased feelings of energy with a reduction of depression, tension and anger.
Time to be Real
Whether it’s cooking meat on an outdoor flame or listening to an old Beatles record, some things stand the test of time, certain exercises included. Fads, comical gadgets and miracle pills will continue and may even increase however, serious exercisers will rely on old-school programs. Routines that yield results today will continue to deliver tomorrow. Look through exercise magazines from the 1970s etc and you’ll see those principles being used today, just with a little more refinement.
For real lasting results, go back to your roots. It’s easy to get excited by something new but don’t lose sight of your bread and butter exercises, Research old training programs and revisit old articles and journals. Study and compare classic advice and programs to today’s teachings and see how this wisdom relates to your personal goals and workouts. History is an excellent teacher for those who apply what they learn from it.
Gyms Will Specialise and so will the Trainer
Commercial gyms will be a thing of the past. Exclusive sites will still be available for specialist training such as Cross fit style exercise, Yoga, Olympic lifting and Bodybuilding, but due to a faster availability of information and ineffective exercise fads, people will resort to simpler forms of training. I believe men and women have a primal instinct to seek out non conventional objects such as stones, logs or cars to push , etc. This will outlast the fads.
Emerging trends such as primal movement patterns are enabling a halfway point to be reached between strength training and functional training with less dependence on gyms. Portable suspension trainers could become installed in public places? And with the evolution of fitness technology, fitness trackers, apps, online coaches and due to the mistrust instilled on the public due to the amount of unqualified, sketchy and occasionally dangerous ‘trainers’ people will become more capable of working out away from instructors and fitness professionals. Real specialists will still be in demand, but won’t hold your hand and pamper you. You won’t be on your own but the technology of the future will help you to up-skill your fitness knowledge for better results.
Here are my predictions, and some from leading industry trainers for 2017 and beyond…
- I believe interest in barbell training / barbell clubs will probably continue to grow. It is likely that hard core barbell work will remain for as long as people wish to be strong
- The industry should see greater demand for the development and use of non traditional exercise equipment.
- A growth in whole-body loaded, and integrated / ‘functional’ training
- A continued growth of small group training is expected to continue, but unfortunately programming is becoming generic. Ideally, the industry will see a return to individualised approaches within the small-group scope which is very possible
- 30-40 minute ‘express’ sessions will continue to flourish because these days time is of the essence
- Rising participation rates for obstacle course events like Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, Desert Warrior etc will result in greater demand for event specific training
- Technology will continue to play an influential role in fitness. There are already some great coaching apps available and technology training that features heart rate measures and other feedback will continue to get smarter and help to inform fitness programming
- There has been a growing interest in restorative training due to a changing dynamic in clients aged 50 and older People will look for programs that help them stay at peak levels
- There will be greater emphasis on mindset training because focusing solely on exercise and nutrition doesn’t seem to be working. What is needed are coaches who understand how the mind works and how to lead clients into behavioural change. I have already seen many exercise coaches take an interest in life coaching
- A continued growth in online training/distance coaching as well as streaming workout videos is expected
- Facilities with varied program options and modalities will probably have the greatest success. We’re a culture with an attention span 3 seconds long. The more variety we offer, the more interested people become in our services
- Greater interest in suspension and multi-modality programming is in the forecast. More professionals are incorporating newer innovative tools into they’re programming to ensure that clients see results and have fun
- There is likely to be greater demand for recovery programs that mitigate the significant stress many people face
- There may be a move toward large-group training because of the camaraderie, energy, accountability, motivation, social aspect, fun factor and money saving ability that it offers
- Most likely, minimalist training will see growth as more people become interested in body weight workouts, Calisthenics, Gymnastics, and programs that use simple tools like dumbbells and barbells
Will my predictions come true? Only time will tell.
Refer back in 2020 and lets discuss!