New Year, New You: 2016 Fitness Trends

by Mira Reverente

Not just for dancers, the barre method is for all fitness levels and backgrounds.

Not just for dancers, barre classes are for all fitness levels and backgrounds.

Shortly before the holidays, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) announced its 10th annual fitness trends forecast. Published in the ACSM”s Health & Fitness Journal, the forecast features results of a survey given to over 2,800 health and fitness professionals worldwide.

Wearable technology tops the list for the first time in the ACSM’s decade-long history of forecasts. In the past, high intensity interval training or HIIT took the top spot in 2014 before being edged out by body weight training in 2015.

Here is the top 10 list of health and workout trends that are expected to stick around for a while:

Fitness trackers are hot this year. Credit:

Fitness trackers are hot this year. Credit:

1. Wearable tech

In this era of smartphones, smartwatches and fitness trackers, the need to track every step, every mile, every calorie and every hour of sleep seems to be expected. The increase in obesity, diabetes and other weight-related chronic conditions have also contributed to the growing popularty of these devices.

“We have seen a huge jump in popularity of these devices, right around the holidays and even up to now,” said Terri Quirk, store manager of Mile 26 Sports in Camarillo, which carries fitness trackers and GPS-enabled watches such as Garmin.

“It provides accountability and motivation, too,” according to Salma Ghafari who owns a FitBbit, another fitness tracker brand. “My usual goal is 10,000 steps a day and if I’m only at 8,000 or 9,000 by late afternoon, then I’ll try to squeeze in another short walk before dinnertime.”

2. Body weight training

One does not need weights or a gym membership for this, making it especially popular with the highly mobile crowd like road warriors, parents with young children and fitness minimalists. Think squats, burpees, pull-ups and push-ups, which can be done anywhere with zero or minimal equipment.

HIIT made it to the top 10 list of fitness trends for the second year in a row.

HIIT made it to the top 10 list of fitness trends for the second year in a row.

3. High-intensity interval training (HIIT)

Described as a workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less intense activity or rest,

“It’s a cardio technique that cranks up your metabolism to burn calories all-day long,” said Sam Beaumann, manager at Drenched Fitness in Westlake Village. “HIIT works so well because it’s sustainable unlike long-interval workouts and the calorie-burning benefits are just great.”

At the newly-opened Orangetheory Fitness in Newbury Park, a variation called “heartrate based training” is in play. “It’s very effective in getting people to heart rate zones that are proven to help maximize workout efficiency even 24-36 hours after the workout is done,” said owner-manager Dane Haye. “The heartrate monitors take out the margin of error and seeing those numbers on the screen adds visual motivation and accountability.”

4. Strength training

Torch body fat, build more muscle mass and burn more calories, so say the proponents of strength training. Or tweak it a little bit and try the barre method, which is a different take on strength training but equally low-impact and intense.

“It uses muscles which aren’t used in more traditinal exercise classes,” said Cindi Garabedian, owner and franchisee of Studio Barre in Newbury Park. “It works the core, strengthens and elongates shoulders and biceps giving one a dancer-like body.”

5. Educated and certified fitness professionals

More competitive and more specialized than ever, the fitness industry has grown right along with the economy. High-profile celebrity trainers have put the spotlight on this profession even more.

Experts recommend checking for national fitness certifications and credentials before hiring one.

6. Personal training

Not everyone will thrive in a group class setting. Or some just prefer to carve out their own one-on-one time with a personal trainer, who can help reach a fitness milestone or help maximize one’s time at the gym. Steer clear of the cookie cutter approach and ask your trainer, if you do end up hiring one, to tailor-fit your work-out according to your goals, needs and fitness level.

Torch body fat, build more muscle mass and burn more calories in 2016.

Torch body fat, build more muscle mass and burn more calories in 2016.

7. Functional fitness

Uses strength training to improve balance, coordination, power and endurance to support or mimic the activities of daily life. Think common activities such as bending down, picking things up, climbing the stairs, pushing and pulling. There are boutique or specialty gyms that highlight functional fitness, as well as online workouts.

8. Fitness programs for older adults

Have you ever heard those findings that people begin losing muscle mass and strength after 40? Older adults need to stay active and healthy by working out. Title Boxing Club in Newbury Park is one of the places around town that has a program tailor-fitted to this age group.

“It’s the same hour-long boxing workout with eight rounds but at a slower pace with modifications if necessary, with instructors that have been especially trained to do this,” said general manager Lisa Oliver, describing the Silver Sluggers program at the club.

9. Exercise and weight loss

It shouldn’t be a trend, but a way of life, as most people will say. Now more than ever, more and more people are paying attention in order to achieve longevity.

10. Yoga

No longer a trend but a fitness staple, yoga is here to stay, especially if we ask the millions of yogis and yoginis. The benefits of yoga are a mile-long: from mental to physical. The varieties or forms of yoga are equally as long. Find one that suits your lifestyle and level. In most cases, you don’t even need a yoga studio membership. Check your local park or Or do downward dog as much as you like, in the privacy of your living room.

IMG_3246Outdoor activities also made it to the top 20, along with wellness coaching, sport-specific training, core training and circuit training, among others.

Adventure guide and hiking leader Angeline Duran Piotrowski weighs in on outdoor activities, specifically day hiking and backpacking. “They challenge you mentally as well as physically,” said Piotrowski, who leads a local women-only hiking group called Wild Women Hiking.

Backpacking, for example, takes place in a changing, uncontrollable physical environment on rough terrain sometimes,” she said. “It is intense and addictive. Day hiking is exactly the same, just on a smaller scale.”

Do you think the fitness pros missed any trends? Chime in on Facebook. 

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