It is always interesting to try and guess which direction an industry will take, and predict what trends will be popular. As Steve Jobs said, “you can give customers what they want, but our approach is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do”.So here are some thoughts on what is on the horizon for the fitness industry:
There are lots of ways of engaging in freeweight and functional training (olympic weightlifting, kettlebells, rigs, strongman training etc), but the key for trainers is to elevate your understanding above what everybody else is doing to see how to integrate these different forms together. Listen and learn from different experts. Rather than simply copying them, integrate the exercise and methods into your own system and with trial, error and experience, use what works and ditch what doesn’t.
- The Mind.
Unfortunately in relation to getting results with clients, the mind and a client’s emotions is the last thing many trainers consider. As our knowledge of fascia increases (such as the importance of self-myofascial release), more and more trainers are learning about the link between the fascia and visceral (internal organs), and emotional connections. Are certain muscles, long and weak or short and tight because of emotional issues, or are certain postural deviations due to stress? Understanding and helping clients to address emotional barriers will help trainers to see much quicker and more effective results with both dietary and exercise programmes that they are implementing.
- New Technology.
New technology is a big potential area for any industry at the moment. New applications and online platforms will continue to fall into 3 main categories - information, communication and automation. Clients have access to information on how to use equipment (with new technology like augmented reality apps), or platforms that allow the sharing of information - from trainer-to-client, or from trainer-to-trainer. There is also the aspect of how to communicate with your clients, members, employees or other trainers - and hopefully social media will start to be used for more communication between people, rather than just shouting into the web about how great you are, or what you ate for breakfast! Automation of processes is still a huge potential area for many fitness businesses - from self-employed trainers to the larger clubs - and tools like MyZone are fantastic for showing how technology can be used for both increased results and profit.
- New Research.
Unfortunately the research into the effectiveness of many types of functional training (sandbags, ropes etc) is limited to non-existent. Even kettlebell research is scarce at best, and that has been around for many years now. Hopefully as more higher education facilities invest in functional training areas and equipment, the associated research undertaken at these facilities will justify what practical experts already know - that these tools are great for getting results.
Sometimes new research precedes practical application though, and a good example of this is the research into BAT (Brown Adipose Tissue) and its stimulation by cold therapy. Only new technology showed us how applying cold to the upper back, neck and chest has the potential for facilitating fat loss without the use of physical activity, dietary intervention or drugs. This is a great tool for athletes, bodybuilders or anyone else looking to decrease bodyfat stores.
Good luck in the future and we will see if these predictions come true....