The fitness industry has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Fitness has gone through many transformations throughout history, with plyometric-based activities being the first main form of staying in shape. People trained for functionality and usability of techniques and strength in general. Today, we have become much more personalized and have many driving factors behind why and how we work out.
Fitness Fads vs. Classic Methods
Today’s fitness industry is wildly different from even 10–15 years ago. We have had many fads in the industry that have peaked and disappeared. Some of these were deserving of such a fate, but there are some staples that have seemed to stand the test of time. These types of fitness methods include standard weightlifting/bodybuilding style, pioneered by the generation of Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as the marathon runs that started centuries ago with Olympic athletes. In my opinion, some people stick to traditional methods, and others like to go with what is new and fresh in the industry.
Group Fitness Trends
Group fitness classes are adapting to changing wants. These wants have gone from the likes of Tae Bo and Jazzercise to Boot Camp–style classes, CrossFit, hot yoga, immersive spin classes, and a mix of different styles like PiYo and others. This has shown that classes are becoming more varied, and are allowing people to be more specific in the type of class they want to participate in. I love this adaptation, and I hope it continues to grow for people who like the group environment. (Look here for more of what NIFS is offering in Group Fitness.)
The Impact of Technology on Fitness
Today’s fitness industry is quickly incorporating technology to improve not only the experience of working out, but also the data available afterward. People are becoming more educated about the effects of exercise from a physiological standpoint, and are tracking metrics normally not available to people even a few years ago. Wearable technology allows people to track their heart rates and performance in real-time, which provides an intrinsic motivation to continue on their workout routine. This is just one part of the industry that is quickly seeing changes.
Fitness equipment seems to be smarter and smarter by the day, with machines getting larger TV screens that give many options in real-time data, as well as entertainment like video games controlled by the exercise performed (such as with spin bikes and rowers).
All this advancement in technology has inspired my predictions on the future of the fitness industry. I believe the introduction of DNA-based fitness testing and performance measurement will make its way into the mainstream industry soon, as well as augmented-reality–based training, allowing individuals to escape the standard gym environment and become fully immersed in a new experience. It seems that social media is a large driving force for these new technologies and workout types, and I can see these being popular for people who want to try the newest and greatest technology in their workouts.
If you ask me, I will stick with the simple workouts: run and lift some metal. Call me old school, but with the advancement of fitness technology and equipment, the same task needs to be accomplished at the end of the day, and if I can simplify that process, I will go that route. However, I still look forward to what the future holds!