| Danielle Douglas-Gabriel |
WASHINGTON (WP-BLOOM) – If you’re sporting a heart-rate monitor while banging out your last set of push-ups in a class of three people, you’re on the cutting edge of fitness.
Even if you just manage to do one of those you’ll be on trend for 2015, a year that trainers say will be defined by a return to basic exercises and the continued integration of technology.
We’re not about to say goodbye to CrossFit or high-intensity interval training, the pop stars of 2014.
But health experts expect people to gravitate toward workouts they can do anywhere and look for ways to judge their performance this year.
So much of what’s anticipated to blow up in 2015 has been around for a while, but some of the following trends may play an even bigger role in your fitness routine this year:
(1) Gym class hero
Remember all of the pull-ups, sit-ups and push-ups you did in high school gym class?
Those exercises that made up the Presidential Fitness Test (which I failed as a child) remain the foundation of effective workouts, said Walter Thompson, a professor of kinesiology and health at Georgia State University.
“There is nothing really new about body-weight training, but really smart people in clubs have been packaging body-weight programmes, and the public is buying them,” said Thompson, author of the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual fitness forecast.
The report, which is based on survey responses from more than 3,400 health and fitness professionals, ranked bodyweight exercises as the top trend for this year.
Kevin Mullins, a strength coach and personal trainer at Equinox, said boot camp classes and short, intense interval workouts helped body-weight exercises regain popularity.
“It’s a good way for people to get comfortable with strength training,” he said. “A lot of people are going from those moves to deadlifts and squats.”
(2) Stream and stretch
My colleague Vicky Hallett recently chronicled the rise of digital services that stream workout videos on tablets, phones, television and computers.
There’s a whole new world of subscription-based models, such as Crunch Live and Booya Fitness. And you can always check YouTube for free options, such as BeFit and Popsugar.
I’m a little obsessed with Fitness Blender right now. Trainers Daniel and Kelli Segars have produced an impressive catalogue of free videos on the Web site (www.fitnessblender.com) that users can customise by typing in their preferred level of difficulty or target area.
What’s great about these videos is thast as long as you have a WiFi connection, you have a fitness class or virtual buddy to work out with.
This could be especially appealing to folks who travel a lot or those who are too shy to sweat it out in a room full of strangers.
(3) Tracking every step you take
Runners have long used heart-rate monitors to measure the intensity of their workouts, but these days people are wearing all sorts of devices to track their calorie intake or number of steps taken during the day.
Recording that sort of biometric data is likely take off this year amid a wider selection of smartwatches and wearable technology that hit the market during the holiday season.
The latest generation of smartwatches and fitness bands have sensors that can monitor just about anything.
But before you drop $200 on a device that tracks your steps, sleep, calories and everything else, focus on the functions you really want, said Anthony Wall, director of professional education at the American Council on Exercise.
“GPS is a super-cool feature, but ask yourself if you’ll ever use it,” he said. “Pay attention to functionality and the battery life so you’re not charging the device all time.”
(4) Specialty sweat
You can’t turn a corner in some cities without running into a cycling studio or CrossFit gym.
People have proved they’re willing to shell out $25 per class to focus solely on plies or cycling up a pretend hill. And savvy club owners are paying attention.
“People want the community that develops in a lot of these studio classes,” said Ingrid Nelson, a personal trainer and instructor at PureRyde, a small Michigan-based chain of cycling and pilates studios. “Studios are using social media to connect with members and have an easier time with that than huge gyms.”
Don’t write an obituary for big-box gyms just yet. Competition from speciality studios is fierce, but it hasn’t exactly killed health clubs.
Gym memberships have grown at an annual rate of six per cent in the past five years, according to IBISWorld.
Analysts at the market research firm forecast industry revenue to grow nearly three per cent a year through 2019.