Canadian fitness industry leader, canfitpro reveals top trends expected in the coming year based on results from its annual survey of fitness professionals

[Toronto—ON] December 5, 2017 — The results are in…the ability to move optimally for everyday life is more important than ever to Canadians. Functional Fitness -- training our muscles to work together by simulating daily common movements like carrying groceries -- is back as the #1 fitness trend for 2018 according to the results of canfitpro’s annual fitness trends survey. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) falls to #2 and Older Adult Training climbs up to #3.

Survey results also reveal that:

  • More training in less time continues to be a focus for Canadians with HIIT and Express Workouts ranking in the top 5.
  • Active Recovery exercises (foam rolling, mobility, low intensity, YIN Yoga) and Branded Group Fitness (Orangetheory, Zumba®) debut in the top 10 this year
  • Fusion-style Group Fitness (merging different types of workouts, such as Piloxing, ZEN•GA®), returns to the list at #10.
  • As Express Workouts continue to rank in the top 10, personal trainers will likely offer shorter sessions and increase the number of sessions per week.

Canada’s authority in fitness education for 25 years, canfitpro reached its nearly 30,000 members, including fitness professionals, health club operators, industry suppliers and fitness consumers from across Canada to gather the annual survey results.

Media Notes: National and local experts for available for interviews by request.

The top 10 Canadian fitness trends for 2018 are:

1) Functional Fitness (#2 in 2017; #1 in 2016)
Functional fitness climbs back to the #1 fitness trend expected in 2018. Using multiple muscle groups to strengthen in a holistic way (versus one specific muscle group at a time), functional fitness programs include practical, balance-challenging movements that simulate activities like shovelling snow, carrying groceries, or unloading the car. This focus helps prepare for the physical activities of daily life and counters the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

2) High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) (#1 in 2017)

HIIT is a training methodology involving intense periods of exercise followed by durations of rest. This high-intensity approach is increasingly popular because it provides a good workout in a shorter time than steady-state cardio and because it works for all fitness levels. As Canadians work longer hours and try to maintain balance amidst a busy schedule, HIIT addresses that time crunch, burning fat and improving cardiovascular benefits quickly and effectively. An example of a HIIT workout is Jillian Michaels’s BODYSHRED offered across Canada in partnership with canfitpro.

3) Older Adult Training (#6 in 2017)

Older adult training moved up three positions from number 6. This signals the growing demand from Baby Boomers looking to adopt healthier habits to maintain their health and quality of life into their 60s and beyond. Fitness professionals are taking specialized courses and certifications to learn how to train older adults safely and effectively. canfitpro's Active Aging Certificate is an example of the type of education required to serve this market, while organizations like the International Council on Active Aging are working to build awareness and skills to support active older adults.

4) Active Recovery *Debut in 2018 Top 10

Recognizing that the ability to work out is limited by the ability to move, active recovery exercises focus on movement and self-care with foam rollers, balls and low-intensity workouts to name a few. If we can take care of ourselves and move as freely as possible, our everyday lives are better and training is enhanced.

5) Express Workouts (#4 in 2017)

Express workouts encourage participants to perform multiple exercises at a fast pace to generate maximum results. This is an effective approach for people on a tight schedule – perfect for lunch time or after work. Providing the ultimate convenience, an express workout typically lasts 20 minutes or less.

6) Branded Group Fitness *Debut in 2018 Top 10

Branded Fitness Programs are pre-choreographed programs offered by a company. Examples include Jillian Michaels’s BODYSHRED, Les Mills International programs offered within GoodLife, Orangetheory classes, and a variety of others. When attending these programs people know what to expect and are able to choose a workout that they enjoy no matter where they are located. The brand awareness, efficacy, and convenience of these workouts are very attractive features to their devoted fans.

7) Circuit Training and Boot Camps (#6 in 2017)

Circuit training involves a series of exercises performed in rotation with minimal rest. The goal is to build strength while burning maximum calories. A fitness boot camp mixes traditional callisthenic and body weight exercises with interval training and strength training. Both types of workouts are designed to push participants harder than they would normally push themselves. Both are low-cost, efficient and challenging, combining strength and aerobic conditioning to generate positive results.

8) Nutrition and Healthy Eating Programs (#5 in 2017)

Combining exercise with healthy eating is the best approach to see the results of your efforts sooner -- whether it's weight loss or advancing your overall fitness level. More Canadian fitness professionals are taking additional training to improve their nutrition expertise, including canfitpro's Healthy Eating & Weight Loss Coach certification and Tosca Reno’s Eat-Clean Foundations, powered by canfitpro.

9) Body Weight Training (#9 in 2017)

Using your own body weight to create resistance is a growing workout trend among Canadian fitness professionals and consumers. This form of exercise builds strength and muscle and burns fat without the need for equipment, making it easy to get started and less intimidating for beginners. Enabling people to use their own body weight while doing movements like lunges, push-ups and pull-ups makes training anywhere possible.

10) Fusion-style Group Fitness (returns to the Top 10 in 2018; was #7 in 2016)

New types of group fitness classes and workouts that combine disciplines -- like yoga and cycling or Pilates and boxing -- are springing up across Canada. Mixing totally different types of exercise to create a new workout provides variety and something new. Changing up what we do helps develop more strength, agility, balance and coordination than a single exercise discipline.

Expert perspectives:

Nathalie Lacombe, Vice President, canfitpro

“Surveying our members, fitness enthusiasts and club owners, 2018 is shaping up to be about balance. People are looking for more impactful training in less time so they have time for Active Recovery and Mindfulness. Functional fitness is back at the #1 spot as Canadians seek to build real-life movement into their fitness programs, and into their busy lifestyles.”

Maureen ‘Mo’ Hagan, Vice President of Fitness Innovation and Development, canfitpro and GoodLife Fitness

“I love seeing functional fitness take the top spot on the canfitpro Canadian Fitness Trends Survey this year. As a licensed physiotherapist and certified fitness professional who has taught group fitness classes for more than 30 years, I’ve seen so many exercisers who have injured themselves doing everyday tasks like picking up their children. That’s why it’s so important for our exercise routines to mimic our daily lives – it helps get the most out of everything we do, no matter your age! Active recovery is also another great addition this year. A proper warm-up and a great fitness routine can only work if you allow yourself time to properly recover from your training workouts. Active recovery is all about setting you up for success in your next workout.”

About canfitpro

canfitpro is the largest provider of education in the Canadian fitness industry. Founded in 1993, canfitpro delivers accessible, quality education, certifications, conferences, trade shows, and membership services. canfitpro’s over 30,000 members include some of the world’s finest fitness professionals, health club operators, industry suppliers, and fitness consumers.


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