From virtual reality workouts to foam-rolling-specific workouts, these trends are coming your way in the year ahead.
According to Jen Widerstrom, fitness and health expert, author, and trainer on NBC's Biggest Loser, the biggest trend in fitness in 2017 isn't really a trend at all. It's individuality. "One size does not fit all," she says. "It simply can't! If you're not honoring the individual you're missing out on health and fitness training this year." Widerstrom says customized programming based off of your personality traits and tendencies, versus trying to get everyone to fit inside the same box, is the way to go. (It's also the same concept behind her book, Diet Right for Your Personality Type, which will be released in early 2017.)
One of the biggest fitness trends we'd love to see more of is the combination of different workout styles, and according to experts, this is definitely coming down the pipeline. "The fusion of different practices continues to grow," says Rick Stollmeyer, MINDBODY CEO, "such as workouts that combine Pilates and yoga, or dance and strength training. It makes the workouts more fun and more interesting." 305 Fitness, a dance cardio studio, introduced a sculpting class this year that incorporates elements of dance, bursts of cardio, and strength training, plus a class that adds yoga to the mix. More classes like this are definitely on the horizon, and we can't wait to try them. (Here, try PiYo—aka Pilates and yoga combined—for yourself.)
Though seamless workout gear is already available on the market, Carbon38's chief design and merchandising officer Yoon Chung says you can expect to see even more of it next year. Why? Seamless gear "has a great fit, is extremely comfortable, and typically comes in at reasonable price points." Sign us up for that. But how will it perform when you sweat in it? Sweat-wicking technology and creative knitting techniques (think mesh-like holes) can make seamless pieces perform just as well as your other workout gear. It's also supportive AF, making it an awesome material for sports bras that are both comfy and functional.
While we've seen lots of high-tech workouts in 2016, we have yet to see many true VR workout experiences emerge. "I'm dying for the adaptation of the virtual reality world to catch up to the training world so we can become one!" says Widerstrom. "The thought of creating a virtual experience for an audience that desperately needs support inside their homes in order to give them the courage to train outside of them is something I'm counting the days for." Considering all the VR technology that's out there for entertainment purposes already, we'd say there's a very high chance you can look for in-home workouts that incorporate this tech in 2017.
Fitness has truly become a lifestyle, not just something that people do occasionally to stay in shape. In light of that, it makes sense that a more holistic way of looking at fitness would be on the horizon. "Addressing your overall well-being, not solely fitness, is something that I think everyone should focus on," says Stollmeyer. "Whether it be through meditation, massage, or even getting a fresh haircut, taking that time for you to do things that make you feel good can play a large part in supporting a positive state of mind and overall health: mind, body,and spirit." With the rise of meditation studios like MNDFL, Unplug, and The Den, more and more people are considering their internal life and mental health a crucial part of their overall fitness and wellness.
With all the mega-chain gyms out there these days, smaller studios are gaining a cachet that they never had before. "Boutique studios continue to gain in popularity as people are seeking more intimate, tailored experiences," explains Stollmeyer. "That personal touch can make all the difference, especially when trying a new workout, as it can help the experience be less intimidating. People are also more proud than ever to be supporting local, small businesses; it helps build a sense of community."
Sorry HIIT haters, these workouts aren't going anywhere. The American College of Sports Medicine released their predicted fitness trends for 2017, and high-intensity interval training ranks at number two. Stollmeyer agrees that the workout will continue to make waves in 2017, noting that "At MINDBODY, we continue to see more and more interest in high-intensity exercises and a growing recognition of the benefits of strength and interval training. These workouts result in good muscle density, which helps you burn calories even when you aren't working out, helps to avoid injury, and improves bone density." So 2017, bring on the burpees.
Now this is a trend we can really get behind. In 2017, Lacey Stone, fitness professional and celebrity trainer, wants to emphasize "health first, weight loss second. It doesn't matter what you look like when you don't feel good." YES. THIS! "A great body is awesome but it won't make you happy long-term unless your commitment to weight loss is based on your happiness and health. People who have earned their body through hard work and dedication to long-term results are some of the happiest people I know because their results are based in being centered in who they are not what they look like."
Another trend mentioned in the ACSM 2017 trend report is an emphasis on flexibility and mobility. In 2016, we saw classes pop up that are 100 percent focused on active recovery and stretching, like Rebecca Kennedy's A.C.C.E.S.S. The ACSM report notes that foam rollers are growing in popularity. You may even be able to find a foam-rolling-specific class at your local gym. "Mobility rollers are specifically designed to massage, relieve muscle tightness, alleviate muscle spasms, improve circulation, ease muscular discomfort, and assist in the return to normal activity," explains the report. And it's not just workouts that are getting in on this trend, either. Recovery beverages like WellWell, which launched earlier this year, have some pretty convincing science behind them, so we can expect to see more of these in 2017.
Of course barre has been around for a while, but ClassPass told us that barre was the category of class reservation that increased the most on their app in 2016, increasing by 2 percentage points from 15 percent to 17 percent. With studios like Pure Barre, Barre3 and Xtend Barre expanding like crazy across the U.S., this trend is definitely not slowing down. Whether or not you love barre's quad-quivering tendencies, it's highly likely that you'll be able to find a studio near where you live—and when it comes to working out, convenience is everything. (New to barre and not sure what the eff a barre tuck is? We've got you covered.)
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