With 2017 quickly approaching, many people will start thinking about heading to the gym to shed the pounds they’ve added over the holidays, and to shape up for spring.
And each year, the fitness industry seems to churn out new and exciting ways to keep people interested while they’re working out. So do celebrities — think Beyoncé and her Master Cleanse liquid diet or the Kardashian’s waist trainer endorsements — whenever they portray a specific activity as “cool” or unique.
Many people even induce trends because they want to “keep up” with what’s popular. People want to appear to be “in the know rather than behind the times,” said Jonah Berger, marketing professor of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.
So what will be hot for 2017 in terms of ways to workout? We checked in with two health professionals for their take.
But first, to know where we’re going, we should probably also know where we’ve been.
2016’s Top fitness trends
Heading into 2016, the number one fitness trend in Canada was called functional fitness, according to the Canfitpro survey. It involved doing exercises that mimic everyday activities like shovelling snow, carrying groceries, or running the vacuum. (Think getting the most bang for your movement buck.)
The other hot fitness trend was body-weight training. As the name implies, this revolved around doing exercises that relied purely on using one’s own body weight for resistance, such as push-ups, squats, or chin-ups.
These two trends were a stark departure from the biggest one of 2015, which was high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Not at all relaxing or simple, it consisted of intense bursts of anaerobic exercise at near maximum intensity alternating with short periods of less intense exercise. It was not for the faint of heart.
WATCH: Fitness trends for fall 2016
What to expect in 2017
Some fitness trends may transfer from 2016 into 2017, say nutritionists, with the ultimate workout goal being to build strength and lean muscle mass instead of looking thin.
“Strong is the new skinny – more people are shifting their focus away from the thigh gap trend and focusing more on strength, gains, power, and performance,” Marissa Liana Beaulne, a Courtice, Ont.-based certified nutritional practitioner and practicing holistic nutritionist, told Global News. “Hashtags like ‘gains’ and ‘do you even lift’ seemed to flood Instagram and social media outlets in 2016. I definitely see this trend carrying over into 2017. Feeling strong is so empowering and more people are definitely realizing this.”
She also cites that for 2017, the new major trend that will dominate the health industry is “If It Fits Your Macros”— IIFYM for short.
Beaulne says that IIFYM allows people to consume any foods they want in a day’s period as long as the items fit into their macro-nutrient or ‘macro’ allowance — which is the amount of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins (in grams) a person should consume in a day in order to reach their desired physique.
“I am a personal fan of this trend as it has dramatically helped me through my health and fitness journey. This approach shifts away from the previous ‘eat clean’ diet plans that only allow ‘clean foods’ and minimal ‘cheats’ or ‘cheat meals’ in order to be successful in reaching your goals,” Beaulne explained.
There’s also a psychological component to IIFYM. If a person wants to have a cookie, or slice of pizza, Beaulne says the diet encourages people to realize doing so won’t ruin their progress — treating oneself is part of life.
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When it comes to fitness specifically, we can expect to see HIIT and functional training co-mingling a bit, says Kevon Fleary, an Ajax, Ont.-based strength coach. People will work with their body’s natural movement and range to get fit and lose weight.
Technology will also have a starring role. Fleary predicts that there will be a lot more wearable tech that gives instant feedback of an individual’s progress. There may also be an increase in online fitness and nutritional coaching as it’s a great low-time-investment way to get tailored guidance on goals. People can also be held accountable by someone virtually.
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It’s a trend that seems to be supported by the American College of Sports Medicine who, for the second year, has named wearable tech the top fitness trend. (We should note some people may prefer to use heart rate monitors to track their heart rate while others will focus on the metrics of steps, active time, distance and calories burned.)
Fitness tracker data is also expected to become more advanced in 2017, and will put a greater focus on heart rate variability (HRV).
HRV is the measurement of the time interval between heartbeats — the small fluctuations of the heart, not just the headline of beats per minute. Those fluctuations can be affected by many things which could be age, body position, the time of day and health status and are also signs of one’s overall health. Many mental, physical and emotional experiences can impact on HRV.
For the first time, the ACSM also found that the idea of “exercise is medicine,” defined as a push for wellness on the part of health care providers, will likely see an increase in popularity, as will health efforts originating in the workplace (think lunchtime yoga).
With files from Dr. Samir Gupta