Monday, November 26, 2012
Blog: Self-Directed Workouts: A Fad, or the Future?
Recently, two things popped up on my radar, and at first glance, they didn't appear to have anything in common. Now that I've thought about it, though, I'm thinking this might be a trend. See if you agree.|
This year, Nov. 11 was designated as World Run Day — a day to explore the benefits of running. You can go to the website to find whether anyone near you has organized a group running event. If they have, you can join it. If nobody has, you can start one, or you can just run by yourself. And if you really want to be detail-oriented, you can print out an e-bib for it. Pay a registration fee, get set up in advance, and according to the website, you can receive a commemorative T-shirt by mail after the event is over.
Each year, the World Run Day organization sets up a calendar of "virtual runs" people can use. For example, 2012 had dates preset for a Virtual Turkey Trot (donations were suggested to a local food bank of the organizer's choosing), Virtual Super Bowl Race, Virtual Halloween Run (in costume, no less) and so on. In other words, here's your calendar; go out and do your thing.
Maybe by itself, WRD doesn't tell us anything. But the same week I learned about that program, the American College of Sports Medicine announced its predictions for the top 20 fitness trends in 2013. Of course, the survey includes a lot of the usual suspects — strength training, programs to prevent childhood obesity, exercise and weight loss, and programs to help keep older adults fit and healthy.
But vaulting into the number-three spot on the survey this year — and it hadn’t appeared at all in previous years — was "Body Weight Training." Body weight training is defined as back-to-basics workouts that include push-ups, planks, pull-ups, squats and more — anything that uses the body as resistance.
WRD and body weight training aren’t the same thing. But maybe there is a common denominator. People who want to exercise may not be able to find a class that fits their increasingly hectic schedule. Maybe they're working weekends and/or weeknights, and can't do organized club runs or benefit 5Ks. Or maybe they've lost their job and can't afford a lot of extra expenses (race registration fees, health club dues) at the moment. They want to stay fit, and they're trying to develop programs that work within their limits.
The question is whether you think independent workouts will impact the fitness industry moving forward, or whether you think they're a symptom of a temporary glitch in the economy or the workforce that is influencing people's ways of working out. Or maybe it's just another fitness fad that comes and goes?