Fit for purpose? Or just another fading fad? Fitness trends to lookout for in 2018!

Another year, another batch of fitness trends to experiment with. 2018 has a lot in store for the fitness industry, and we at Ashbourne have been busy compiling a list of the ones you need to pay attention to.

One size doesn’t fit all

The one size fits all approach is fading and the experts are waking up to the fact that personalised training programs are typically more effective than a generic off-the-shelf one. Don’t just tell someone to do something because it worked for ‘Arnie’, understand their end goal and help them develop a path to get there.

Focus your effort

Focus and motivation are key element’s that will drive you to reach and accomplish your fitness goals. “Put simply, if you are not certain and clear about specifically what it is you want to achieve you may fall short of it.” – Jeff Withers, Master NLP Practitioner at Love Dynamics Global.

Assistance exercises

Do you lift properly, bro? Help a client address their individual weaknesses by incorporating assistance exercises to improve movement and strength. Although they aren’t the most interesting of exercises and can take time to progress, they are a key component in unlocking higher levels of progress in the gym.

Biohacking is a term closely linked to unlocking new levels of fitness, and Luca Romano believes that “the coming year will see a massive rise in “biohacking”, which is the technique that involves hacking the human body to become the best version of yourself. It’s more about holistic optimisation than exercising specific body parts”. It simply means using various hacks to see what works best for you.

Assisted stretching

Trainer-assisted training is fast becoming a popular trend within the industry. With so many benefits to be had, the most important one is the improvement of a client’s overall flexibility. Assisted stretching is a type of stretching where another person, or trainer, is used to help further stretch the muscles with additional force.

Kristen Marconi, Flexologist from Stretch Studios has seen remarkable benefits from one on one assisted stretching and believes that it “will be a trend in 2018 with awareness on the importance of flexibility in recovery, as well as improving the results and recovery from your workouts.”

If assistance isn’t for your client then classes that focus on developing muscles and increasing flexibility could be another option. Lisa Jackson, a leading Pilates instructor from Core Pilates outlines the many benefits… “Pilates helps develop long, lean muscles without bulk and increased overall flexibility. Making it very attractive for those wanting to elongate their muscles and strength without building size”.

Sport specific exercising

Dr Lewis Ehelich, Holistic Dentist, PT and Health Coach, says: “We are seeing a return to sport specific training that utilises functional training techniques. This includes things like sprinting, gymnastics, plyometrics, and soft sand training. This is not just about running but working with sleds, ladders, hurdles, weights to improve your training. To increase your speed as a sprinter, you need strong legs to power your stride, so functional weight training will coincide with sprinting.”

STRONG by Zumba

This non-dance, music-led, high-intensity interval training exercise class combines bodyweight, muscle conditioning, cardio, and plyometric training moves. The routines were created first and then music was reverse-engineered to match every move perfectly, for a unique workout experience that pushes you past your perceived limits. Every squat, every lunge, every burpee is driven by the music, helping you make it to that last rep. This has NEVER been done before in the fitness world.

STRONG by Zumba Australian Master Trainer, Jarrod Tucker, explains: “Music-led fitness classes take group exercise to the next level because when you focus on the music, you tend to forget about the reps and counts and you let yourself go to the beat. And whenever you are enjoying what you are doing, unconsciously you tend to push yourself more, which means that you burn more calories, and overall, get quicker results. Studies have shown that moving in sync with music allows the body to use energy more efficiently and that music may distract people from pain and fatigue, elevate mood, increase endurance and even promote metabolic efficiency. You will find that, in a STRONG by Zumba® class, you are doing more burpees, squats, lunges, etc. than you ever thought you were capable of doing because of the music.”

Fitness shared economy

Nathan McKay, owner of Sportspeed and founder of AirPT said: “The concept of the shared economy will be transferred into the fitness industry with a new platform being launched in 2018, AirPT. AirPT is maximising the 50,000+ registered personal trainers in Australia and the 3500 fitness centres and gyms for 2018/19 by providing a link between trainers and gyms and breaking down the barriers to maximise fitness studio space and trainers needs. AirPT is going to being together passionate forward thinking trainers and studio owners to capitalise on their space by reducing trainer overheads and providing additional source of income to studio owners, while broadening the opportunities for trainers to utilise fitness facilities.”

Sleep training

Yep, that isn’t a typo; it is a genuine approach to improving your clients training, performance, and overall results. Stop thinking of sleep as 7,8 and 9-hour blocks, and break it down into 90-minute cycles. As a benchmark, the average person will need 5 cycles.

Neil O’Conchuir of NOC Performance, has over 17 years of experience in the fitness industry and is a big fan of sleep training. He adds: “We will transition through several sleep cycles in the course of a night’s sleep. With this knowledge, we can now think of sleep in terms of how many cycles we get through”.

For further information on sleep training, we’d highly recommend taking a look at the book ‘Sleep’ by Nicky Hales. An excellent resource, with actionable guidance that recognises sleep as an essential factor in performance.

The rise of the multi-sport athlete

Scott Henderson, co-founder ALL I SEA Performance Sportswear, says: “There are 1.1million Australians who run, swim and cycle and over 200,000 Australians who compete in triathlons. We are now seeing people participate in multi-sports, and no longer are we tied to one type of fitness (Roy Morgan). People’s fitness regimes now incorporate FIIT sessions, strength and conditioning, swimming, running, cycling, boxing, yoga and pilates, as well as team sports. Gyms such as 98 Riley Street have recognised this trend and offer a programmed classes every week systematically tackling different energy systems, building a strong base, strength endurance and sessions include squatting, pressing, deadlifting, sprints and longer distance intervals.”

Get tracked

If your clients aren’t tracking their individual training and classes, then how can they or you possibly measure the results? How do you know what is working for them, and what is working against them?

With the limits of technology reaching new heights, the ‘average Joe’ gym now has the capability to measure every inch of sweat expelled on the floor. Apps and accessories from the likes of MyFit, Strava and Garmin allow gyms and customers the chance to measure every type of result from a workout.

Just be sure to familiarise yourself with the capabilities of tracking and speak with a specialist if needs be.

Online Classes

In a world full of limitless technology, it would be wrong of us not to mention the age of the online classes. Catherine Basu of Fit Armadillo says: “this trend has been emerging for a few years and will continue to gain speed as the average fitness fanatic continues to be pressed for time.”

There is no limit to where you can run or cycle these days, with treadmills and static bikes ‘geared’ up with the latest artificial intelligence to make it feel like you are actually making your way through the Amazon.

As a gym this is something that you’ll need to be able to offer and advise your clients on in 2018.

Fitness to increase productivity

Busy entrepreneur Aodhan MacCathmahoil at focuses a lot on health and fitness; both for himself and for his staff. “I believe more companies will put focus on staff health in 2018, and this will be as a boost to productivity and decreasing absenteeism. It is clear that regular workouts keep staff more productive.”

In this context he expects more companies to offer subsidised gym passes and memberships, as well as promote lunchtime work outs!

You spend more than a third of your day at work, Paul Solicari of SweepSmart, is often stretching in his line of work, even with the extended poles. Keeping supple keeps him fit for purpose.

The guys at Morgan Lovell explain in a great article, exercise also reduces stress and “simply providing a shower for people who cycle to work or go for a run on their lunch could make a difference.”

Of course, as with anything, what may work for one person may not work for another. Don’t be disheartened; if you can follow at least one of the identified trends above then, you will put your clients in good stead for the year ahead.


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