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Nov. 15 2019 07:05 AM

Exercise trends to watch

Keeping up with trends is an integral part of remaining relevant as a fitness professional, and trends are moving into and out of our industry faster than ever before.

Since the start of 2020, we have been bombarded by articles and opinions on the hottest fitness trends coming to us from certifying bodies, industry associations, celebrities, and social media influencers alike.

Some of the hottest fitness trends of the 1980s and 1990s are making a massive comeback thanks to a whole new generation of passionate fitness professionals. But be warned, their reinterpretation is giving these trends a whole new look and feel. That means those of us who were part of the original hi-low impact or cardio-kickboxing gang can’t just kick it old school, and certainly not with our old outfits!

You know something is hitting the market with strength when the Wall Street Journal pays attention to it. The advent of increasingly popular boxing clubs and studios like Rumble have put boxing and kickboxing back on the map. I remember teaching a packed YMCA gym with over 100 members for my Tae Bo classes back in the day. Billy Blanks is still alive and kicking, but in 2020, this trend shines through more as a boot camp-style with full contact and authentic equipment rather than the shadow kickboxing we did in the 90s.

Hi-low and low impact group fitness
Aerobics are making a comeback, with powerful new concepts. Programs like High Fitness have brought some of our old favorites like high kicks and shuffles back to group fitness studios, and offer it in a pre-formatted system that is easily applicable to the huge percentage of instructors who “grew up” solely on pre-choreographed formats.

For those who want something other than HIIT, LIIT (low impact interval training) programing could be just the ticket. The movements included are often highly functional and full-body in nature to pack a low impact punch, or even bringing dance back to the floor thanks to programs like Country Fusion.

Cardio equipment
Treadmills remain the kings of cardio thanks to small group training taking over some of those rows of equipment. Studios like Orangetheory and programs that can be added to gyms like Sprint 8 have rejuvenated and revitalized the square footage that had lacked life for too long

Since the cardio equipment section is normally so visible to all clients and potential clients, it was often a dead zone filled with people staring at televisions. This trend is allowing us to “studio-ize” those areas and pack them with coaches ensuring high energy and massive appeal.

What this means for fitness professionals

Whether you were around the first time these types of training were popular, get out there and try some of these trends. You can only speak of them if you experience the workouts yourself.

Go back to your old certifications, skills, and programming to see if some refurbishing could become a “new” feather in your cap. Remember that you’ll need to use your critical thinking and creativity to breathe some new life into an old trend.

What this means for fitness managers and decision-makers
Before you get rid of a program or piece of equipment no one is using, find out if one of your fitness pros has some ideas to rejuvenate its appeal. Connect your more experienced trainers and instructors with newly certified staff; as a combo they can probably offer a killer training that will draw clients from multiple generations.

What this means for fitness education providers

Remember that everything is cyclical; sometimes retiring a program that isn’t selling allows you to dust it off a few years later, load it with fresh content, and create a new revenue stream. Connect with some of these education providers or others like them to understand why their brand is doing well and consider an affiliate partnership where you can recommend one another’s programs to clients.

Having a spirit of innovation and creativity is a wonderful asset in our industry and we definitely want to be wary of doing anything “because we’ve always done it that way,” but reflecting on past success and what used to draw people to our offers and services can also be a profitable exercise.

Nathalie Lacombe is a mover, shaker, and joie de vivre giver! Blending 25 years of international experience with degrees in psychology and exercise science, Nathalie uses her uniquely vibrant leadership style to make profound and lasting change with her teams, clients, and audiences.