By Nathalie Lacombe, M Sc.
Keeping up with trends is an integral part of remaining relevant as a fitness professional, and trends are moving into and out of our industry faster than ever before.
We will soon be bombarded by opinions on the hottest fitness trends coming to us from certifying bodies, industry associations, celebrities, and social media influencers alike. As Vice President of canfitpro, I was responsible for disseminating one of these trends reports for the Canadian fitness industry in a manner that I hoped helped fitness professionals make wise decisions about their education and programming.
I created this blog series as a tool to help differentiate between quick-burning fads and trends that have staying power. Don’t spend a moment of your precious time or a dollar of your hard-earned money before reading and reflecting on The Next Big Things: Top 3 Trends for 2020!
Third Place: What’s Old is New Again!
Some of the hottest fitness trends of the 1980’s and 1990’s are making a massive comeback thanks to a whole new generation of passionate fitness professionals. But be warned, this reinterpretation has given these trends a whole new look and feel. Those of us who were part of the original hi-low impact or cardio-kickboxing gang can’t just kick it old school, and certainly not with our old outfits!
You know something is hitting the market with strength when the Wall Street Journal pays attention to it. The advent of increasingly popular boxing clubs and studios like Rumble have put boxing and kickboxing back on the map.
I remember teaching Tae Bo classes to a packed YMCA gym with over 100 members back in the day; Billy Blanks – the creator of Tae Bo – is still alive and kicking, but in 2020 this trend has more of a BootCamp feel with full contact and authentic equipment rather than the shadow kickboxing we did in the 90’s.
Hi-Low & Low Impact Group Fitness
Aerobics are making a comeback, with powerful new concepts. Programs like High Fitness have brought some of our old favorites like high kicks and shuffles back to group fitness studios. Plus, these new brands offer it in a pre-formatted system making it easily applicable to the huge percentage of instructors who “grew up” solely on pre-choreographed formats.
For those who want something other than HIIT, LIIT (low impact interval training) programming could be just the ticket. The movements included are often highly functional and full-body in nature to pack a low impact punch, or even bringing dance back to the floor thanks to programs like Country Fusion.
Treadmills remain the kings of cardio thanks to small group training taking over some of those rows of equipment. Studios like Orange Theory Fitness and programs that can be added to gyms like Sprint 8 have revitalized the square footage that was often not full of life.
Since the cardio equipment section is normally visible to all clients and potential clients, it was often a dead zone filled with people starting at televisions. This trend is allowing us to “studio-cize” those areas and pack them with coaches ensuring high energy and massive appeal.
The Next Big Things For You
Whether or not you were around the first time these types of training were popular, get out there and try some of these trends. You can only speak of them if you experience the workouts yourself.
Go back to your old certifications, skills, and programming to see if some refurbishing could become a “new” feather in your cap. Remember that you’ll need to use your critical thinking and creativity to breathe some new life into an old trend.
Fitness Managers & Decision Makers
Before you get rid of a program or piece of equipment no one is using, find out if one of your fitness pros has some ideas to rejuvenate its appeal. Connect your more experienced trainers and instructors with newly certified staff; That combo can probably offer a killer training that will draw clients from multiple generations.
Fitness Education Providers
Remember that everything is cyclical; sometimes retiring a program that isn’t selling allows you to dust it off a few years later, load it with fresh content, and create a new revenue stream. Connect with other education providers to understand why their brand is doing well and consider an affiliate partnership where you can recommend one another’s programs to clients.
Having a spirit of innovation and creativity is a wonderful asset in our industry and we definitely want to be wary of doing anything “because we’ve always done it that way”, but reflecting on past success and what used to draw people to our offers and services can also be a profitable exercise.