It’s back to the basics for fitness trends in 2014.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) took over the No. 1 spot in the American College of Sports Medicine recent Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2014, followed by No. 2 body weight training. Recent trends like Zumba, spinning and Pilates did not make the Top 20 list this year. The ACSM is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world with more than 50,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals.
“Ultimately, it reverts back to good, solid, time-tested fitness programs,” said Drew Pringle associate professor and chairperson health, physical education & recreation at Wright State University. “High-intensity interval training has been around forever, it’s how we’ve been training athletes for years.”
And while terms like “high-intensity” might sound a bit intimidating, it need not be, Pringle said.
“Everybody can participate in HIIT. It’s a matter of what relative intensity level they can participate at,” Pringle said.
The short timeframe for HIIT programs — generally 30 minutes or less — can be a major perk.
“When you package it into small sections, there is a greater likelihood that people will do it,” Pringle said.
Likewise, body weight training has several key advantages.
“A lot of body weight training is so simplistic that it really, truly is something that can be done at any time, anywhere and relatively inexpensively,” Pringle said. “Sometimes, the things that cost the least are the most effective.”
Going hand-in-hand with the top two trends is No. 3 — last year’s No. 1 — educated and experienced fitness professionals. The assistance of a professional with the certification of a reputable organization can help people reduce their chance of injury and increase the effectiveness of their workouts.
“A professional can also help them rethink their outcomes,” Pringle said. “If they aren’t realistic, it can be detrimental to their overall health.”
The top 10 fitness trends predicted for 2014, by the American College of Sports Medicine:
1. High-Intensity interval training (HIIT): HIIT, which involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery, jumps to the top of this year’s list. These exercise programs are usually performed in less than 30 minutes.
2. Body weight training. This is the first appearance of this trend in the survey. Body weight training uses minimal equipment making it more affordable. Not limited to just push-ups and pull-ups, this trend allows people to get “back to the basics” with fitness.
3. Educated and experienced fitness professionals. Given the large number of organizations offering health and fitness certifications, it’s important that consumers choose professionals certified through programs that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), such as those offered by ACSM.
4. Strength training. Strength training remains a central emphasis for many health clubs. Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete physical activity program for all physical activity levels and genders. (The other essential components are aerobic exercise and flexibility.)
5. Exercise and weight loss. In addition to nutrition, exercise is a key component of a proper weight loss program. Health and fitness professionals who provide weight loss programs are increasingly incorporating regular exercise and caloric restriction for better weight control in their clients.
6. Personal training. More and more students are majoring in kinesiology, which indicates that they are preparing themselves for careers in allied health fields such as personal training. Education, training and proper credentialing for personal trainers have become increasingly important to the health and fitness facilities that employ them.
7. Fitness programs for older adults. As Baby Boomers age into retirement, some of these people have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts. Therefore, many health and fitness professionals are taking the time to create age-appropriate fitness programs to keep older adults healthy and active.
8. Functional fitness. This is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance and ease of daily living. Functional fitness and special fitness programs for older adults are closely related.
9. Group personal training. In challenging economic times, many personal trainers are offering more group training options. Training two or three people at a time makes economic sense for the trainer and the clients.
10. Yoga. Based on ancient tradition, yoga utilizes a series of specific bodily postures practiced for health and relaxation. Includes Power Yoga, Yogalates, Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Anurara, Kundalini, Sivananda and others.
The best of the rest
Nos. 11-20 of the ACSM Worldwide Fitness Trends 2014:
11. Children and exercise for the treatment/prevention of obesity
12. Worksite health promotion
13. Core training
14. Outdoor activities
15. Circuit training
16. Outcome measurements
17. Wellness coaching
18. Sport-specific training
19. Worker incentive programs
20. Boot camp