This article appeared in the September 2016 issue of Athletic Business. Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.
As the CEO of SCW Fitness Education, Sara Kooperman is a big fan of fitness trend lists, whether they come from the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), Shape magazine or the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
One recent trend caught her attention. The trend of educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals had held the No. 1 spot in the ACSM annual fitness trend survey for six consecutive years before falling to No. 3 in 2014 behind high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and bodyweight training. In the 2016 ACSM survey, professional certifications fell to No. 5 as wearable technology took the top spot.
"One of the biggest trends I see in the fitness industry is that facilities care less and less about making sure their professionals are certified," Kooperman says. "And if the ACSM, which is adamant about education, is noting that it has dropped to No. 5, I think that's a huge shift."
Based on her love of fitness trends and trends she sees regularly at her MANIA conventions around the country, Kooperman has come up with her own list of trends in fitness programming and training, which she will share at the Athletic Business Show. Kooperman's list consists of 13 trends, but rather than reveal the entire baker's dozen, here are her top five:
Kooperman's top 5 trends
1. The Importance of Recovery Time
For millennials, stretching and yoga between workouts is en vogue. For older adult exercisers, it's a necessity, Kooperman says. "There's always a focus on recovery with an older adult fitness program. For older adults, the risk of injury is so much higher. If they don't focus on the recovery, workouts become unpleasant, and then they stop doing them."
2. The Balance of Nutrition and Exercise
Kooperman has seen a shift from dieting to fitness and exercise back to a focus on diet. "It should be settling in the middle. Fitness professionals know the value of exercise both from a mental and physical response, but they also know that it works with a diet. People are getting much more sophisticated with their food preferences and preparations."
3. The Growth of Specialty Certifications
Many clubs no longer require the general group fitness or general personal training certifications in favor of more specialty certifications, Kooperman says. "We're seeing more and more trainers getting the specialty certifications because a general certification is not required by their state. It means the industry is getting more diverse. And by getting more diverse, we're able to capture and support a greater market."
4. The Importance of Exercise for Older Adults
More people realize that as they get older, the quality of their life is affected by exercising, Kooperman says. "Our population, because of modern technology, is living longer and longer, and healthier and healthier. A lot of people never were involved in a health club, never took out a membership and never were involved in fitness. But going someplace and working out for an hour is getting more and more popular with older adults."
5. The Growth of Barre Training
Barre training is hot right now, Kooperman says, but she questions whether it will stay as hot as yoga or have the longevity of step aerobics. "Barre training is effective and easier on the body. If I took a HIIT workout as opposed to a barre class, I would get in better shape, but I'm going to be able to do this barre program for a heck of a lot longer than I'm going to be able to do HIIT."
This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of Athletic Business with the title "Top trends from a fitness guru"