The American Council on Exercise (ACE) surveyed its network of personal trainers, group fitness experts, advanced health and fitness specialists and lifestyle and weight management consultants to determine the top fitness trends for 2010. The findings conclude that consumers will be looking to arrange their fitness regimens with time and money in mind. Tighter budgets and hectic schedules will also bring unique and efficient workouts to the forefront of the fitness world. Sammie Kennedy, a personal trainer who founded Booty Camp Fitness in Canada, says the key to staying fit and trim is consistent, motivational exercise and healthy eating. Here's what the fitness expert has to say about ACE's top fitness trends for 2010.
Kennedy: This is definitely a trend that will remain popular, especially in a recovering economic climate. Having trained at a gym, I've seen a lot of people splurge hundreds of dollars on annual memberships come January. By the time March rolls around, though, they aren't using it anymore and are out quite a bit of cash because gyms simply don't offer the motivational tools for you to keep coming. As a matter of fact, they bank on the fact that you won't come. If everyone used that membership, there would be no room. To stay on a budget, try workouts that offer a pay-as-you-go type option. That way you pay for say, four or eight weeks at a time. If you find you're still committed a few weeks in, then you can continue, but if not, you aren't locked into a contract.
Kennedy: The trend in Canada definitely sees women moving from one-on-one personal training to group fitness sessions. Not only is it a more cost-effective way to work out, but a group setting provides energy, enthusiasm and accountability. Knowing that your instructor and peers expect to see you come out means you're less likely to skip a session. In the long run, that means you'll see better results, too.
Kennedy: People are always pressed for time, so doing short bursts of activity is becoming a popular concept. For it to be most effective, there are a few things to remember: You still need to warm up and cool down before doing the physical burst of activity. The intensity of the workout needs to be consistently high; working out at the same pace as a 60-minute workout won't yield the same results in a shorter one since you will have to train at higher heart rate intervals to yield the same fat-burning results
By integrating fitness-based video games into their programming, clubs will offer unique exercise sessions for game-lovers and those looking for variety within their workouts. ACE studies on exergaming-type systems, including Nintendo's Wii Sports and Wii Fit and the PC-based Dancetown, show these alternative fitness options are motivating, but can't replace a dedicated gym or sport routine.
Kennedy: Exergaming is a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. Fitness has shifted to be more of a fun-oriented activity and less of the dreaded after-work-straight-to-the-gym type routine. That's fantastic because if you're having fun, you're more likely to do it, which is great for both body and mind.
Kennedy: It's great that all ages are reaping the rewards of staying active. Aging adults have access to low-impact exercises such as tai chi and aqua aerobics so that there isn't as strong an impact on fragile bones. We'll likely also see an emphasis on resistance training for older adults to increase bone and muscle strength. It's never too late to start taking care of your body.
Functional training workouts will increase in variety, including popular suspension training tools such as the TRX. The portability and time-efficiency of these workouts will appeal to people looking to stay fit at home, the office, the gym or while traveling.
Kennedy: There are so many amazing exercises you can do with tools like the TRX. Especially for people who are constantly traveling and can't lug a lot of equipment, this is a great way to squeeze in some functional training – just be sure to secure it properly! Even as a cheaper alternative, pair creativity with resistance bands of varying tensions. These tools give the user total control - whether that's resistance or level of difficulty. Plus there's the benefit of being able to use a full range of motion and multiple joints and muscle groups simultaneously while training.
Kennedy: Obesity and illness cost the government money. Really, it's in the government's best interest to encourage a healthy population. We're seeing grade schools put a stronger emphasis on nutrition and physical education so that kids carry this learning with them through adult life. The workplace is observant of this, too; regular exercise leads to a boost of the immune system which means less sick time. Companies are offering gym memberships or bringing activity into the workplace, like a lunchtime yoga class, to keep their employees moving and healthy. At the Booty Camp head office, we take turns cooking healthy lunches for each other -- groceries covered, of course -- to encourage health since we are so focused on fitness.
Kennedy: I have to say, I'm disappointed that this is considered a trend -- this should be the norm. Trainers and instructors for any workout regime should always be qualified and certified through an organization like Can-Fit-Pro (Canadian Fitness Professionals) or CPTN (Certified Personal Trainers Network). You risk suffering from injury if you don't have an instructor who holds the proper credentials; certified instructors are educated on proper form and technique, thereby avoiding injury.
(Editor's Note: Top certifying organizations in the US include American Council on Exercise (ACE), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).)
Specialty classes such as ethnic dance, hula hooping, pole dancing and Zumba will remain popular due in part to the continued success of shows like Dancing with the Stars. Fusion-type classes will be popular among fitness enthusiasts that want to switch up their typical workout programs.
Kennedy: Specialty exercise classes are definitely trendy. The key is to avoid doing the same exercise all the time or else your body gets used to it; if you're going to take part in a trend like hula hooping, you need to complement that with another activity for effective results or find a program that incorporates a variety of exercises within its structure.
Technology is continuing to infiltrate the fitness world. The use of tracking and online training and scheduling tools will increase in the coming year with more people looking to better gauge their progress by accessing and monitoring details of their fitness programs. Some popular examples of tracking gadgets include GoWear fit and Fitbit, while online tools such as TrainingPeaks software offer fitness programs and meal plans that people can access 24/7. Mobile applications are even bringing fitness on-the-go through iPhone applications and other downloadable programming.
Kennedy: Personally, I don't use a lot of tools to monitor my workout; I prefer to simply check my heart rate. However, people are taking advantage of the apps they can load onto their iPhones and BlackBerrys so there is no shortage of or slowing down for fitness training tools.
No, we don't see couch potato syndrome on the list here, so there's no reason not to follow the trends and get fit, 2010-style.
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