In Good Health: Fitness Trends To Watch in 2016


7091300071_compAs one year comes to a close and the new year begins, we view the clean slate before us and resolve to eat better, exercise more and take better care of our bodies than we did the previous year. The new year’s resolutions will come and go, but trends in health and wellness will continue to manifest throughout the year.

In 2015, we saw a new crop of juice bars, boutique fitness studios and athleticwear brands mulitply like rabbits across the country. Superfood juices became superfood bowls, and those that dared to eat carbs ate avocado toast. Exclusive, expensive and specialized studios popped up everywhere, with a better, more novel way to ride a bike, lift a weight and burn a calorie. These once unique boutique gyms soon started to spread their wisdom and some, like Soul Cycle, have become more prevelent in the New York City landscape than McDonalds.

Last year, we went hard. HIIT, or high intensity interval training was the common denominator in many of the hottest workouts. Gasping for breath and dripping with sweat were key determinators of a great workout. While we still see a preponderance of high intensity experiences leading the way, a few key factors will change.

This year, competition will take over the scene, with gyms like Orangetheory and Flywheel using leaderboards to track anything from speed, watts, mileage and heart rate across all participants. Full service gyms, like luxury player Equinox, are getting into the act with their specialized cycling programs being rolled out across the chain.

The concept of “Go big or go home” will take on a new sense of importance, with rest and rejuvenation becoming just as important and going all out in the gym. This will manifest itself in interesting ways, from planned active recoveries to a influx of regeneration activities breaking into the scene. Meditation studios, such as MNDFL are cropping up, as are sensory deprivation and cryotherapy outlets. L.A. leads the way with a new facility called Wanderlust Hollywood,which challenges members to “find your true north, and cultivate your best self,” through yoga, meditation, food, festivals and mindfulness.

We are discovering the benefits of sleep are much greater than we thought, and getting a full 8 hours could become way cooler than staying out all night.

If you can’t get to the gym but still want the experience, no worries. Peleton’s special bike allows you to stream into a class taking place in real time in their NYC studio, or select one from their extensive library. The Daily Burn allows you to stream classes with some of the top instructors in the fitness world today, and choose from a variety of genres to tailor your at home workout just for you. Watch for this concept to grow, allowing people to access the best class experiences when and where they wish to have them. Think of it as the Netflix effect.

Functional training, and bodyweight training are also gaining popularity. They require no fancy equipment, and train us not just to lift a heavy weight, but to be able to get our bags in the overhead compartment of an airplane without help, and lug our groceries up a few flights of steps. What’s the point of building muscles if you can’t use them?

Where we once we willing to scramble from studio to studio to get in our workouts, we are now looking for a more wholistic approach that gets it done all in one place. With fitness publications striving to answer the age old question of which should come first, cardio or strength training, these classes throw caution to the wind and mix it up. (Also, please stop writing those articles. I’m pretty sure that unless you are training for an elite event, it doesn’t really matter. Just do it!) From Equinox’s cutting edge introduction of Shockwave a couple of years ago, which incorporated rowing intervals with strength segments, to Barry’s Bootcamp which uses the treadmill, these classes aren’t exactly new on the fitness horizon. They are, however gaining momentum. Watch for more of these hybrids to pop up, and new combinations to emerge. Rowing and weights, cycling and yoga, boxing and pilates? Who knows what the next big idea might be!

Speaking of boxing, that is another form of training that seems to be having a resurgence. Whether it is true boxing from Aerospace or Shadowbox, or boxing inspired workout classes, like Equinox’s new The Cut, there seems to be renewed interest in this genre. Victoria’s Secret models swear by it, and from the looks of some of the participants, if you want to be strong, lean and cut, this could be the ticket.

Group reboots, which include training programs, nutrition and lifestyle coaching are gaining momentum. With goal setting, accountablilty and the support of a team driving their success, these specialized programs have proven to be very effective. Look at Barre 3’s 28 to Great, Anna Kaiser’s Transformation, and Equinox’s ETC as examples.

Technology will continue to grow as we monitor our stats, track our progress and compete against our peers. Whether it is apparel, accessory or equipment based monitors, this area will only get bigger, and more complex as new technology is developed. Watch for new developments to continue to astound us. Chances are, whatever you want to track, there is an app for it.

Stay tuned as we delve into our predicitions for the new year in wellness and food!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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