5 Fitness Trends That Will Cross Your Path In 2016

We’re not clairvoyant, but you sure do learn about people’s growing concerns and interests when you field questions and chat with gym members in all 50 states (and beyond!). So we asked a handful of our trainers what they’re reading about, what questions are popping up more, and what’s being coached in their own personal training education. Whether a current whisper or scream, here’s what we discovered.

“Forget gender lines. More women are finally using free weights! And we have men in yoga and even in Zumba classes now.” – Laura Burnstein

It’s probably no surprise that wearable tech (fitness & activity trackers, smart watches, etc. that incorporate nutrition, sleep, elite training, GPS capabilities, and more) isn’t going anywhere. Your options will only be increasing, with more sophistication. According to Mobi Health News, about 21% of Americans are wearing some type of wearable tech device. They’re so popular that big fitness trends like bodyweight training, yoga, and HIIT have been booted out of first place (though we still give those a thumbs up!). One of the biggest and brightest impending advancements of wearable tech is the addition of heart rate (HR) monitoring. HR has been a popular trend for high-end endurance athletes for decades, but this next wave of wearable tech will bring it to the masses. Tech industry leaders Garmin, Polar, and TomTom have begun to offer and support HR products where the read/pulse is taken continuously via the wrist (better for beginners) versus traditional methods of measuring directly above the heart. Now HR is being used to measure and impact things like HIIT training, circuit training, and small group training. HR also has began to creep into the traditional strength training space with data and research supporting the need to recover (HR) for optimal muscle strengthening and conditioning. – Tony Nicholson

Functional Fitness Helps at Home & In The Gym
There’s no question that what we do in the gym has a direct connection to what we can do outside it—and the same goes for what we can accomplish inside our fitness routines. In order for a person (especially beginners) to be able to do specific workouts that that will help them achieve a personal fitness goal, they must first be functional and mobile enough to properly activate their key muscle groups and maximize calorie burn. That’s where functional training comes in. With expert direction, incorporating functionality (with a focus on healthy, proper posture) into a workout routine will allow a person to improve their basic movement patterns, thus leading to an overall pain-free and performance-driven experience in the gym. Then that will lead to better strength, balance, and flexibility for life’s regular motions. It’s a circular plan that can keep raising everyone’s fitness abilities and overall health. – Ethan Smoorenburg

Personalized, Habit-Based Coaching On the Rise
There has been a positive movement in 2015 toward a more habit-based coaching approach. This is great because it’s showing the general population that fitness doesn’t have to be this intense, overwhelming experience. It can focus on practical, healthier choices and activities we can all easily incorporate in our lives. If this continues into 2016, coaches will begin to replace more scientific jargon, fancy exercises, and super-intense workouts with easier-to-understand, real-world advice. Of course, there’s still a time and place (and person) for intense workouts and using science for fat loss or muscle gain, but most people aren’t worried about the technical specifics, nor have the know-how to apply complicated routines. They just want to get healthier, and perhaps lose a few pounds. This trend puts more focus on the basics and building successful routines and approachable guidance centered around the specific person, rather than the trainer’s special expertise. It could lead to great things, and even more successes! – Mason Woodruff

Elite Athletes Try Intermittent Fasting
Those who are in special training and really focusing on losing fat and building muscle are familiar with the nutrition recommendation of smaller meals, more frequently. But one fitness trend that’s picking up steam and takes a different approach is called intermittent fasting. The concept itself has been around for a while, but until recently, there haven’t been many studies proving how effective it can actually be. The experts claim that short fasts—along with a smart fitness plan, of course—can accelerate fat loss. They also may help hunger control. These fasts can range anywhere from fasting for 24 hours once a week, to eating within 4 (or 8) hour periods of time and fasting for the other 20 (or 16) hours of the day. Some athletes have claimed a better performance, faster fat loss, and even more satiation throughout the day. Dr. John Berardi, founder of Precision Nutrition, has experimented with this method and has even written a free ebook on the subject. It’s not for everyone, but you will likely hear more about it. – Luke Andrus

Wanted: Group Activities & Phone Hideaways!
Cell phones have become such an extension of our personal and professional lives (and literal hands) that people are now looking for ways to completely ditch them. That’s leading to more interest in local activities, outdoor workouts, and adventures like hikes and park outings, with people you want to see—versus communicating with them digitally. This also means more group fitness and classes where it’s simply rude to take out your phone. We can’t bring it in? Great! Let’s all find ways to leave our cell phones behind, and we’ll probably be even happier. – Luke Andrus

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