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Top Fitness Trends for 2016: Does Your Favorite Make the List?

11/23/2015 01:31 pm ET | Updated Nov 23, 2015
  • Jill S. Brown Fitness Expert, Health Coach, Working on a start up & Co-Creator/Owner of a cool, suspension training product

Is your favorite fitness routine falling flat or trending up? Based on a few surveys, I've got the "official" news on what's hot and what's not for 2016.

First let's get our semantics straight. This list is about trends, not fads. The difference being that a fad is a phenomenon that blows up quickly, lasts only for a short time, then, fades away. A trend is something that gains momentum and can create long-term impact in the way people think or behave. In other words, a trend is a "movement."

The ACSM's (American College of Sports Medicine) just released its annual "Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2016," in which nearly 3000 exercise pros predict what you'll see in fitness next year. In anticipation of this report, I spoke with three colleagues at the IDEA World Conference earlier this year to see if their top picks were on the list. Sure enough, several of their predictions made the list. Are yours?

1. If you're wearing it, you're trending. Wearable technology like fitness trackers, smart watches, heart-rate monitors and GPS enabled gadgets are the undisputed champs. Brett Klika, CEO of SpiderFitkids.com predicted this would be the #1 trend and he was right. Some industry analysts have predicted that the wearable technology market will approach $6 billion dollars by 2016. Wearables also include smart glasses, with a predicted $1.5 billion in sales (according to Juniper Research) and smart fabrics and interactive textiles, reaching sales approaching $2.6 billion by 2017, according to Global Industry Analysts, Inc.

2. Do your workouts include push-ups, squat jumps, Burpees and pull-ups? Well done! You're in the number 2 spot. Body Weight Training is a back to basics, minimalist, no-gym-needed, approach to fitness. I'm a big proponent myself. My clients are probably sick of me telling them, "You'll never pick up dumbbells that weigh as much as you do, so push your body weight instead."

3. Do the words "Tabata," or "Insanity" mean anything to you? If so, say hello to number 3, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). These workouts pack a powerful punch in minimal time and involve short bursts of high intensity activity followed by short periods of rest.

4. Still hitting the gym old school style to use their free weights and machines? Good ol' Strength Training is still on trend hitting the list at number 4. Apparently everybody's doing it.

5. Thinking of going pro? With the growing economy, the market for fitness professionals has become more crowded and more competitive. Therefore it's important that consumers choose professionals certified through programs that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Hence number 5, the exponential growth of Educated and Experienced Fitness Professionals.

6. Do you value one-on-one time rather than large group settings? You're far from alone. Personal Training ranks number 6 as more and more students are majoring in kinesiology, indicating that they have their sites set on entering the field.

7. Do you prefer workouts that help you move better throughout your day? Functional Fitness uses strength training to improve balance, coordination, force, power, and endurance to enhance someone's ability to perform activities they do in daily living. Amy Dixon, National Creative Manager for Group Fitness at Equinox and IDEA Fitness Instructor of Year says the next step beyond functional fitness is "loaded movement training," which includes moving the body in three dimensions and incorporates handheld props like ViPR, sandbells, kettlebells and dumbbells.

8. Feeling like the fitness industry is just interested in marketing to the younger set? Not so. Fitness Programs for Older Adults is number 8. The needs of baby boomers are high on the radar as retirees and older adults may have more discretionary moolah than younger generations. Therefore programs to keep mom and dad or grams and gramps healthy and active are on the rise.

9. Surprise! People still want to workout and lose weight. Who knew? The 9th top trend in fitness goes to health and fitness professionals who provide a combination of Exercise and Weight Loss programs to help their clients shed the fluff. As we all know, you can't out train a bad diet and, 80% (give or take) of weight loss depends on what or what doesn't go in your mouth. Therefore, programs that incorporate nutrition and fitness routines make the list.

10. Shut up and shivasana please! It seems there's no stopping Yoga. With so many styles and methods from Power Yoga, Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Anurara, Kundalini, Sivananda and more, you can never get bored or plateau. Rooted in
ancient tradition, yoga is widely known for improving health and promoting relaxation.

A few other notable trends making it to the top 20 include Outdoor Activities (#14) and Sport-Specific training (#15). Krista Popowych, fitness & education consultant says she's noticed a boom in training for obstacle course races like Tough Mudder and Spartan Race.

Wellness Coaching (#13) "integrates behavioral change science into health promotion, disease prevention, and rehabilitation programs." Also known as Health Coaches, they provide support, guidance and motivation to clients either in a one-on-one setting, small group or remotely using technology or the phone. Klika says, "the 'coaching' industry has been exploding, for everything from business to behavior change and clients will be looking for professionals who can guide them thru a more holistic approach to wellness as opposed to just 'looking good for summer'".

Group personal training (#11) not surprisingly has made the list since 2007 (wasn't there a recession in 2008?) and is a cost-effective way for people to get some of the benefits of having a private trainer. And, is a way for trainers to get to work with more clients that couldn't otherwise afford it.

Circuit Training (#18) because there's so many ways to do it (think Barry's Boot Camp and Curves) and Core Training (#19) because Abs.

Also making the top 20 are Smart Phone Exercise Apps, Worksite Health Promotion, Outcome measurements (set a goal and be accountable!) and Flexibility / Foam-Rolling which can be used for warming up, cooling down, trigger points or just a DIY deep tissue massage for cheap.

Think the pro's missed any trends? Chime in with your faves below!

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