Exercising like a caffeinated maniac with breaks in-between – aka, High-Intensity Interval Training – recently took first place among the predicted Fitness Trends for 2014.
Unseated from first place for the first time since 2008? Sadistic drill sergeants who coo their orders and applaud your feeble attempts to comply as they run circles around you – aka, Educated, Certified and Experienced Fitness Professionals.
Over 3,800 fitness pros were consulted on the survey, which was released in the November/December 2013 issue of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)’s Health & Fitness Journal.
The Top 10 Fitness Trends for 2014:
High-Intensity Interval Training
Brief bursts of high-intensity exercise punctuated by short rest periods usually take a total of 30 minutes or less to complete. 5 minutes or less if you twist an ankle or otherwise injure yourself – a top concern among survey respondents. Despite the risks involved, this intense regimen is becoming popular at fitness emporiums all over the globe. Why not just combine a shorter version with those electrode thingies that pulse away at your mid-section while you sit on the couch and smile for the infomercial?
Body Weight Training
Having become popular in only the last couple of years, this training approach uses a bare minimum of equipment – hey, you’re supposed to be working against your body weight, not a dumbbell – which means that it can be a relatively efficient, low-cost way to get buff. More than about push-ups and pull-ups, this trend could have legs for a while, say the experts.
Educated, Certified & Experienced Fitness Pros
So, they didn’t fall too far, did they? Like it or not, there’s apparently nothing quite as motivational as having someone you’re paying handsomely by the hour tell you to do everything stronger, faster and better. For your own good. One reason for falling from the top spot? More and more accreditation programs from third-party providers. Meaning, evidently, that there are more fitness pros out there than ever before – 24% more are expected to be employed that way in 2020 as opposed to 2010. And many of them have sheepskins. No, not lambskins. Sheepskins.
Everything from younger folks who train exclusively with weights to (cough) more mature athletes who use weights as part of an overall program to maintain strength and muscle mass. Some form of strength training is routinely used by those in pulmonary or cardiovascular rehabilitation programs. It’s a popular form of exercise, it seems, all the way around. Because who wants to be weak?
Exercise & Weight Loss
More and more weight loss programs emphasize the importance of a regular exercise program that complements calorie cutting. This particular trend has moved from the number 18 spot on the survey in 2009 all the way to number 5 this time around, indicating a growing popularity that’s likely to continue over time. The downside? No more banana splits, milk shakes or extra-frothy beer while on the treadmill, Homer.
More personal trainers are becoming educated and also seeking out certification, the formalities of which are being kicked around as a matter of law in several states. Survey respondents believe that personal trainers will continue to be an important part of the staff makeup of fitness and health centers. Just an idea here: Would it just be better to become a personal trainer rather than pay for one? You get in shape and someone else might pay you.
OK, this one is formally called Fitness Programs for Older Adults. But Elder Fitness sounds more fun…if you’re not too old. Even if you think you are, it’s nice to know that more attention is being paid to the health and wellness of this segment of society. Older folks generally have more discretionary income and time to invest in a fitness program. And even those who are frail can see some improvement in handling the tasks of daily living when they’re provided with appropriate regimens to follow. There’s also talk about formulating special programs for them that could be held at times during the day when the gyms are sparsely populated.
This involves using strength training to improve coordination, force, balance, power and endurance – as all of those aspects help to improve a person’s ability to handle day-to-day life. The category has bounced around in the ratings over the years, mostly because many people associate it with Elder Fitness. Point to ponder: Maybe a new category known as Generational Fitness would marry the needs and abilities of different age groups, which could be a real win-win all the way around. And make for a few sweat-induced May/December romances, perhaps?
Group Personal Training
The only thing more fun than being told to do everything faster, stronger and better (see # 3, above) is to do that in a group. So you can secretly snicker at the dudes who aimed a little too high when it came to disclosing their current fitness levels. And then you make your move, bursting from the rear of the achievement pack, hair plugs firmly in place, to claim your rightful standing in glory. You Anchorman wannabe, you.
This one will likely never disappear from the perennial fitness lists. Just as it never quite rockets to the top of some of them, either. A host of different approaches, some fiercely advocated by true-believing adherents, likely causes some devotees to get their yoga pants in a bunch. Certifications are also beginning to proliferate, which likely splinters interest, far as survey respondents are concerned. Even so: Nothing – but nothing – satisfies on a semi-cold day than making friends with your mat between two girls reeking of patchouli as you attempt a group “Om”. OK, well, a bunch of things are actually better than that. But try it once, along with a knowing nod to either female. You’ll either learn a whole lot of new positions. Or get a few limbs broken as they turn you into a pretzel staring where the sun don’t shine. What could be more energizing than that?