What are exercise leaders doing, saying, and learning when you’re not looking?
Combine 6000 fitness professionals from around the world with 3 days of expert lectures, workshops, workouts, panels, and trade show and what pops out? To start, 5 fitness trends that you get to see here first! Take a look at the latest in exercise, nutrition, and fitness based on our recent participation in the IDEA World Fitness Convention.
1. Runaway Train of Obesity
Our nation (and others) is getting heavier and heavier with no slowdown in obesity rates on the horizon. In fact, 42% of the US adult population is predicted to be overweight or obese within the next two decades, with a third already so. The word to the fitness industry – we have not yet succeeded in getting our neighbors, relatives, friends, or community healthy, moving, or eating well. As a nation, we are speeding on a track to a major health crisis. At least we have not yet jumped the track. We can still apply brakes. And it’s going to take a multi-pronged, complex approach; not any simple, easy solutions.
2. Focus on Food
Consumers (most of you reading this) are going to be looking more and more to exercise leaders for nutrition advice. So we fit pros are getting the word to get more education in this area so that we can stay within our scope of practice while meeting your needs.
- Dieting vs. Diet Management Diets based on calorie restriction or excluding nutrient categories (such as no sugar, no carbs) ultimately don’t work for weight maintenance. People with a weight loss goal need to clearly distinguish between their weight loss phase and weight maintenance phase. Based on where they are in the process, diet plays a different role.
- Diets DO work for weight loss. Yet, a clear trend was the emphasis on INDIVIDUALIZED diet plans. What works perfectly for one person (Paleo, or raw vegan, or low carbs, for example), might produce limited results in another. No “one right diet” exists. Apparently much of the confusion over what is “good,” “bad,” or “the newest secret” is far more person to person than thought before.
- Trade Show Even the trade show evidenced the focus on food. For the first time in 30 years of IDEA events, an entire section was devoted to ingestibles: food, drink, supplements, powders. IDEA even offered a cooking stage with presentations, demos, and lectures. Next year we hope the trend includes lunch!
3. Dance Choreography That Repeats
Dance-based group classes are rising up, up, up with an emphasis on keeping complexity down, down, down. Whaddya know — people (you? For sure, we!) love to dance, just not when too much thinking, jumping, or choreography are involved. New programs such as QiDANCE, Big Dance, and LA Blast are taking popular, easy-to-follow styles such as ballroom, and creating fun, reinvigorating, no-apologies-for-pointed-toes dance cardio routines. Impact on the joints is low; the repetition of the dance moves is high. Key quote heard a lot: “ I love to dance when I work out, even if I can’t dance except like a dork.” Everyone can succeed while shaking it!
4. Inside/ Outside Body Experiences
- Internal Focus Presenters devoted time and attention to what’s going on INSIDE our active bodies and brains. How do we feel? What aches, pains, limitations are we bringing into our exercise routines? What is the role between the brain and the body that is changing our concept of mind/body interconnectedness? How is our posture affecting us? Bottom line: our thoughts are shaping our bodies to a degree still unknown, but expected to be significant.
- External Focus Another trend is the push to make workouts shorter and more intense. The word to experienced exercisers is to emphasize intensity over frequency and duration to achieve visible (and invisible) results. Want a lean body? Trying to burn fat? Willing to work hard for faster results? Go as hard as you can at least 20% of your workout time. Use intervals within your regular cardio workouts. Or devote one day a week to a short, intense burst of all-out effort.
5. Never Mind Ideal; Start With What’s Real
Yes, there were a lot of workshops, workouts and lectures about High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), TRX® and CrossFit, yet there were even more courses emphasizing the need to meet people where they are. The people who are already hooked on exercise love the intense workouts, but as an industry we need to do a much better job of reaching the people who are overweight or obese and don’t (yet) enjoy exercise. Presenters proffered words such as “realistic,” “small steps” and “increments.” One key phrase we have used before here at Fun and Fit and heard highlighted as helpful for fitpros to ask new clients and class members: “What is the least you can/ will do?” When you are tempted to stay on the couch, try this question on for size. “What is the least you are willing to do today to improve your fitness?” Now get out there and be a trendsetter!
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Readers: Have you seen any of these trends in action? What trends have you noted that are not listed above?