Let’s talk fitness trends!
Every year, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) surveys thousands of fitness professionals around the world to predict the top trends for the coming year in fitness. The past few years, we’ve seen a lot of the same things on that list, including personal training, bodyweight training, yoga, wearable technology and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) to name a few. And I agree that those things aren’t going anywhere, but today, I wanted to put together what I think the trends are and dig a little deeper for things that apply to us.
Fitness trends for 2019
Shorter workouts, less than an hour.
I’ve been on the shorter workout train for quite a while, and I’m happy to see that it is continuing to gain steam. Now, in addition to you being able to do your own short workout that you make up yourself, studios and workout programs are offering abbreviated versions too. I see a lot of 30-minute and 45-minute classes on the schedules at gyms and studios, and this will grow. Yes, there will always be the one-hour class, but that doesn’t have to be your only option now.
I know some people do not feel like they’ve completed a good workout unless it’s an hour, but that’s just not the case (unless you are training for a marathon and need to up your endurance or something like that).
But here’s the deal with shorter workouts — they aren’t always easier — the right shorter workouts can sometimes be just as hard. I’ve noticed that a lot of times when a barre studio has a 45-minute express class, they just remove the breaks and stretching and fit in all the working out closer together. I still think breaks and stretching are important, but staying focused on the work at hand, and going hard for short bursts, is what the shorter workout is all about.
Have you ever gone to a 30-minute or 45-minute class? I love them! They fit into the lunch-hour or make it easier to get a full session in before work. And they make people feel really successful when they’ve completed a full workout or class, rather than just dipped out of an hour-long workout early. Three cheers for this continuing trend.
(Want some ideas for short full-body weights workouts you can do at home or the gym? Check out this round-up of recent ones I’ve done using minimal equipment.)
Treadmill, rower, stair and other equipment-based classes.
Have you ever done a treadmill-only class? I have, and it was terrible, but also quite effective, and I thought it was a good idea. Even though studios like Orangetheory and Barry’s have been offering half treadmill classes (along with other modalities) for many years, I think we’ll see more of single piece of equipment classes popping up in larger cities. It’s hard to put a studio like this is a smaller location, but the good news is that you can do these classes at home if you invest in a Peloton treadmill or Peloton bike. I wonder if they will do a Peloton stair-master one day?
In this type of class, you’re led through the workout by a coach who tells you exactly what to do, and you push yourself and stay on that piece of equipment through the duration of the workout. It’s pretty specialized, but it’s a cool offering. I want to try a stair-master class, because I bet it would be awful — in a good way.
Stretching, yoga and meditation programs and classes.
Yoga may be one of the oldest forms of movement, but it’s not going anywhere. And you know what else seems to be gaining popularity? Classes with a mindfulness element. This type of program isn’t showing up at your local big box gym yet, but maybe it will one day. I have gone to an amazing studio in San Francisco with a stretching class with a lot of time for thoughts. Loved it!
I know this type of class seems like a waste to some people, but it’s not.
And with apps like Headspace getting more and more traction, maybe people are catching on to the meditation thing too? (No, I still don’t have a regular mediation practice, but I sure would like to get one started one day — perhaps going to a guided meditation class could get me going.)
As far as yoga is concerned, I think we’ll see more varieties of it. I’ve heard that CorePower Yoga has a new class combining yoga and high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which I’ve yet to try, but am quite intrigued by.
Overall, we’ll see more yoga, more mindfulness and more stretching, because those who have overexercised and become injured are living examples that we all need more recovery methods in our lives. Stretch it out, people. Grab a mat and get comfortable.
Streaming workouts and workout classes, anytime, anywhere.
The online workout is here in a big way. There are so many companies and fitness influencers offering streaming workouts, and I love that. And the way that this is different now is that you can actually jump into “live” classes, even though they are streaming. Studio Tone It Up offers something like this, as does Class Pass Live, and I’m sure there are a lot more.
There are also virtual group fitness classes available at gyms too, and I took one a few months ago. Basically, you show up at a certain time, and there’s a virtual instructor on video. It’s missing a bit of the personal element, but is still better than doing the class solo.
I love the fact that being able to access group-like workouts anywhere is a real thing. However, I will always vote for the real community live-person element when possible, although I understand it’s not always possible.
Side note: I also think that fitness-based apps will continue to grow, as they have been for the last few years. And this post I wrote on Kelsey Wells’ PWR program has been getting a lot of traction, so clearly people are looking for more info on the Sweat app. Also, check out more about other virtual options with this review of Les Mills On Demand I wrote as well.
Wearable technology to help people get more fit.
This is one of the top trends on the ACSM’s list, and I’d agree. I think people are really enjoying knowing their results. I do think this can become an unhealthy obsession though. I wear a daily step tracker (this one), and love to see that I’ve completed my goal of 10,000 steps, and have at times done things to make sure I get to my step count — which is totally a mental game when you get within the 50-100 step range, you know.
The Apple watch is way more advanced than my old Fitbit I wear, and it tells people about their movement levels, heart-rate, sleep and all of that combined into one, while also tracking calories burned during a workout. I don’t think it’s necessary for someone to wear a tracking device in order to be healthy and fit, but I do think that trackers can assist some people in taking their health to a better place. And they can also be helpful when paired with a workout class.
I don’t know if we’ll see more classes and workout programs popping up with tracking devices involved, but perhaps so. I’m not opposed to it, but I do know that this type of technology is just getting started.
Virtually coached workouts using fancy equipment.
Okay, what do I mean by this trend? There are mirror workouts and full-body contraptions you can buy to get a tailored workout at your home. For instance, Tonal, calls itself the world’s most intelligent fitness system, and it provides personal training videos and an adjustable device that can fold out into full-body weights and a bench. It’s $3,000 dollars, not including the subscription, and debuted here in San Francisco, but I think it’s got a market for sure with some people.
Then there’s that Mirror I mentioned, which is an interactive mirror that you hang on the wall, which displays workouts and stats, and you can link up your heart-rate monitor to it too. Pretty cool, and this one is available for around $1,500, not including the subscription. And Mirror calls itself the nearly invincible interactive home gym.
These two services/devices are new and cutting edge and super expensive and not accessible to us all. But the good news is that oftentimes things get more accessible and cheaper as they are out longer and other companies create slightly less-advanced versions. Just something cool to think about. And no, I haven’t tried either, but would like to.
Overall thoughts on fitness for 2019 …
I’ve attended the IDEA World Fitness Convention three times, and I’m always impressed by all the new gadgets out there you can use for exercise. I wish those companies the best of luck, but quite honestly, you don’t need much to get fit. And fitness doesn’t need to be complicated either.
But being fit isn’t just about fitness, and I think the following things will continue to be important in your overall program …
- Sleep — you have to sleep to recover and get stronger (we’ll see more of this for sure!)
- Hydration — you have to drink extra water if you’re an active gal (and yet, people often neglect)
- Foam rolling
- Daily movement outside of your workout — sitting is the new smoking, people
- Variety in your regular workout program so you don’t do the same thing too often
- Nutrition — you have to eat satiating and nutritious whole foods much of the time to feed your muscles and give you energy too — and you know what they say — you can’t outrun a bad diet
Other than that …
I know for a fact that group fitness is not going anywhere, nor is personal training. Both are too effective. People love the people element. People love the personal element. I think that Les Mills group fitness will continue to be popular in areas where the classes are offered, because participants and instructors get so passionate about it.
I think SoulCycle and Orangetheory will continue to grow, because once again, participants get addicted to the feeling and community of it all. I do think that these type of studios, which have historically only had “one” offering, will diversify. This year, my local SoulCycle starting do a 10-minute ab session after class for a few weeks. I think Orangetheory would be smart to offer stretching, foam rolling and other clinics and regular classes for its members too — because too much of these types of workouts is not a good thing for anyone.
Quite honestly, I don’t know about barre. I think the regular style barre class is perhaps fading slightly, as people want more variety of movement (I’m talking to you Bar Method). Barre classes with more functional and larger moves, or combined with yoga and Pilates (like Barre3, which I only tried once and loved), are still a great choice though, and I think a lot of studios are trying to head in that direction. I try to add functional moves into all of my barre classes that I teach — because it just feels right.
And as always, lifting weights will remain important. However, a weight could also be a resistance band or a TRX strap, or even a medicine ball, it doesn’t have to be a straight dumbbell or barbell. And the need to put resistance on your body to get stronger is anything but a trend.
Finally, rest days will remain essential in any fitness program, and I sure hope you’re taking at least one a week! 🙂 If you need help on that, check out this post on how to take a day off from exercise.
Things I want to try in fitness this year …
- A yoga and HIIT combo class — perhaps the one at CorePower Yoga
- F45 Training — there’s a new studio open in Walnut Creek, and this functional circuit training program is supposed to be the next big thing to take on Orangetheory
- More reformer machine workouts — I love them and think they will continue to be popular, because they are so effective and low impact
- I want to get back to teaching more classes this year too (more to come on that soon)
- A stair-master class? Hope so!
And that’s about it! Happy sweating!Check out these fitness trends for 2019 on A Lady Goes West today ... Click To Tweet
Questions of the day
What fitness trend are you most excited for in 2019?
Have you tried any of these?
What do you see as a trend that I missed?