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Personal training, wearable tech and the top 10 fitness trends of 2015

Here’s what took the industry by storm over the last 12 months.

Personal training was a big winner in 2015.
Personal training was a big winner in 2015.
Image: Shutterstock/Andrew Bassett

THE WORLD SURVEY of Fitness Trends for 2015 has just been announced and it’s quite a fascinating read.

Far from being a willy-nilly read, the findings are the work of the American College of Sports Medicine, a highly-respected US publication.

It’s an annual survey now in its 10th year where thousands of respondents across the world come from all four sectors of the health fitness industry (corporate, clinical, community, commercial), as well as academia.

For the purposes of the study, a trend was defined as “a general development or change in a situation or in the way that people are behaving”.

As an aside, demographics of the survey respondents included 66% females across a wide variability in ages, with nearly half (46%) having more than 10 years of experience in the industry and 23% with more than 20 years of experience.

The top 10 were as follows…

1. Wearable tech

Fitbit Fitbit is one of the more popular brands on the market. Source: Fitbit

This comes straight in at number one and includes fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, and GPS tracking devices.

Examples include fitness and activity trackers like those from Misfit, Garmin, Jawbone, and Fitbit.

Some business analysts in the US have predicted the Apple Watch will sell more than 485 million devices by 2018.

2. Body weight training

Body weight training did not appear as an option before 2013 because it only became popular (as a defined trend) in gyms around the world since then.

This is not to say it had not been used previously; in fact, people have been using their own body weight for centuries as a form of resistance training.

But new packaging, particularly by commercial clubs, has now made it popular in all kinds of gyms. Typical body weight training programs use minimal equipment, which makes it a very inexpensive way to exercise effectively.

3. High-intensity interval training (HIIT)

Falling from the top spot last year, HIIT typically involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short period of rest or recovery and typically takes less than 30 minutes to perform.

4. Strength training

Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Strength training remains popular in all sectors of the health and fitness industry and for many different kinds of clients.

This trend dropped to no. 4 last year and maintains that position for next year after being at the no. 2 position for 2 years but has been a strong trend since the first year of this survey.

5. Educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals

This has always been up around the top (was no. 3 last year) but part of the reason for the decline is believed to be the availability of information online.

6. Personal training

Consistently in the top 10, there will always be a market for personal training so long as people are pressed for time.

In an era where people want more output for less input, few can trump the value of a personal trainer.

7. Functional fitness

Replicating actual physical activities someone might do as a function of his or her daily routine, functional fitness is defined as using strength training to improve balance, coordination, force, power, and endurance to enhance someone’s ability to perform activities of daily living.

8. Fitness programmes for older adults

shutterstock_114143629 Fitness for older people has become more popular. Source: Shutterstock/StockLite

Replicating actual physical activities someone might do as a function of his or her daily routine, functional fitness is defined as using strength training to improve balance, coordination, force, power, and endurance to enhance someone’s ability to perform activities of daily living.

9. Exercise and weight loss

Weight loss (as a trend) dropped from six to nine because there’s such a big emphasis on being fit.

“There’s been a shift from weight to fitness,” said one of the authors of the study, “which I think is a great thing. A healthy body is a lean body; it’s not just light on the scales.”

“Perhaps the fad we’re moving away from is the hardcore focus on weight (and weight loss). The combination of exercise AND diet as opposed to one over the other is what we’re seeing here, it’s more of a lifestyle thing.”

10. Yoga

Moving slightly down the list for 2016 is Yoga after occupying the no. 7 spot last year.

Yoga appeared in the top 10 in this survey in 2008, fell out of the top 20 in 2009, but seemed to make a comeback in the 2010 (no. 14) and 2011 surveys (no. 11).

In 2012, yoga was no. 11 on the list, falling to no. 14 in 2013 and up to no. 7 in 2015.

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The42 Team

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