You could say that I've been inside the fitness industry for an appreciable amount of time and in that time I've had the opportunity to follow many of the industry's trends. I may not have adopted all of them for myself, but I did pay attention to them as they came and went and re-pacakaged themselves. Spoiler alert, most new fitness trends are just recycled past practices.
Let's look at a quick snapshot of some past fitness trends:
1982, Jane Fonda and Aerobics (skip forward and you still have similar classes, just under a "new term of the day", Group Fitness)
1983, The 20 Minute Workout (skip forward and you have "more results in less time" based workouts like HIIT, F45, Metcon-GT, etc)
1984, Jazzercise (skip forward and you have zumba and other dance aerobics classes)
1987, Buns of Steel (skip forward and you have the likes of hour glass workout, similar concepts but with different body image reflecting today's society)
1989, Richard Simons Sweating to the Oldies (skip forward and we're "dancing our way to fit" with zumba, socasize, hip-hop dancefit, etc)
1990, Thighmaster (skip forward and you have a myriad of new machines, gadgets, and exercises all working the same muscles in pretty much the same way)
1991, Bowflex (skip forward and you have a variety of multi-unit gym stations and options for the gym and your house)
1994, AbRoller (skip forward and you have a myriad of ab machine variations and other new gadgets all just new takes on old concepts)
1995, 8 Minute Abs (skip forward and you have new exercise combinations, short classes, or portions of classes devoted to "core" and other specific areas)
1999, TaeBo (skip forward and you have the likes of box-fit classes, 9 round gyms, and a resurgence of boxing as an activity and sport)
As you take a closer look, you can see that most of the recent and future trends are simply revisions of earlier practices. We've simply re-worked and repackaged old practices. With this in mind, we can understand that the future we are trying to anticipate will be a lot more like the past than something totally new that we couldn't have imagined. Yes it's true that today we have and use, phones, and watches, and internet programs, and machines, that we didn't have in the past, but if you look at the big picture of what we're actually doing with all of these new additions/changes, and how much of a deviation they are from the things that we were doing in the past, you realize that it's almost insignificant. For this reason, when trying to envision the next trend that will come out, or contemplating how long a new style of gym or class will be around, I think it is a lot more fruitful to look at our history to see what worked, for how long, and it what new ways it may reappear based on the recent changes in technology and society.
So what can you expect...you can expect may of the new style franchises and gadgets to appear, blow up, and then disappear again, only to get repackaged and reintroduced years down the road...you can also expect that moving weights, playing sports, and simply moving the body through various forms of exercise (running, biking, swimming, dancing, etc) will continue to persist as a simple reflection of our society at any particular point in time...lastly, you can expect technology to keep improving and augmenting all of the above, sometimes in ways that seem so drastic that we feel that they're must have or must do, but upon closer inspection really aren't and don't fundamentally change what you will be doing from what you were doing.
If there's one takeaway, it's that what we liked doing in the past is the best compass for figuring out what we will like doing in the future.
Until next time,
Be Fit, Be Strong, Be Better!