Knowledge, they say, is power. And in today’s competitive environment, it is a requirement for fitness professionals who want to stay at the top of their field by expanding their influence and effectively helping their clients reach their goals. ACE recently surveyed its extensive network of personal trainers, exercise scientists, group fitness experts, allied health providers, and lifestyle and weight management coaches to determine the most significant trends for 2012. With more than 1,500 responses, these findings reveal an encouraging shift in the public’s understanding of the gravity of the nation’s obesity epidemic, as well as a growing trend to marry traditional fitness programs with overall life coaching for improved total health.
“While there is still much more work to be done, we are encouraged by the positive attitude change among consumers, which will hopefully foster important fitness-related behavioral and lifestyle modifications,” said ACE Chief Science Officer Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D. “In the year ahead, personal trainers and other fitness professionals will be called upon to provide more coaching focused on overall health and well-being to spur this momentum, and ACE will support this effort by continuing to offer the industry’s most innovative, research-based professional fitness certifications, education and information.”
As 2011 comes to an end, you are undoubtedly making plans for the coming year. Should you pursue an advanced degree or enhance your business skills? How can you make a bigger impact on the nation’s obesity epidemic? Can you better utilize technology to increase your reach and the services you offer? ACE’s top fitness trends for 2012 can help you answer these questions and ensure that you ring in the New Year with the knowledge you need to succeed.
ACE's Top Fitness Trends for 2012
1. Obesity Awareness
Losing weight will continue to be the primary reason consumers seek personal-training support as the public responds to the expanded messaging concerning the dangers of physical inactivity and obesity. The recently released Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index report showed a modest improvement in the nation’s obesity rates for the first time in more than three years. However, the fact remains that three out of five Americans are still overweight or obese, which means there is more work to be done. ACE remains committed to its 25-year vision to reverse the obesity trend plaguing the nation by facilitating involvement by communities, businesses and government.
2. Whole-life Training
Lifestyle coaching will become a bigger trend, with more personal trainers expanding their education and training to be able to holistically improve their clients’ lifestyles. Additionally, fitness facilities will hire nutritionists and other allied healthcare professionals, such as physical therapists and psychologists, to serve the expanding needs of their health-conscious members by offering wellness, nutrition and stress-management programs.
3. Behavior Modification
While great strides have been made in health education, the average consumer still believes the best way to lose weight is by following a restrictive or fad diet. The recently introduced ACE Integrated Fitness Training® (ACE IFT®) Model incorporates tools personal trainers can use to help them identify appropriate strategies for working with each client to enhance goal-setting, motivation, adherence and rapport. Educational campaigns and programs such as the ACE IFT Model, “Personal Training. Reinvented™”, and the ACE Lifestyle & Weight Management Coach certification will prepare fitness professionals to help consumers better understand that there are no shortcuts to lasting results.
4. Community Collaboration
Access to fitness services and education will continue to expand in local communities, including activities in gyms, parks and recreation centers. In line with the key objectives ACE presented in its 2011 Vision, local leaders are taking a more active role to address health issues in their communities. This includes proactive measures through school-based education programs and engagement with low-income and at-risk families. ACE supports national initiatives such as Joining Forces, which provides fitness resources for military families, and Lets Move!, which aims to encourage young people and their families to be more physically active to help them avoid becoming part of the nation’s disturbing obesity trend.
5. Influence of Technology
The 2011 ACE trend report showed technology is starting to play a role in complementing in-person fitness services by providing additional motivational support. In the coming year, social media and mobile-based apps will continue to revolutionize the industry, with fitness organizations creating more interactive and online-based programs and classes. Additionally, personal trainers will have more flexibility than ever before to provide one-on-one or small-group fitness instruction to consumers anytime and anywhere in the world.
6. Senior and Youth Specialties
Aquatic and group fitness classes will be the most popular forms of exercise for older adults. ACE’s Trainer Program for AARP includes a number of benefits to address the specific needs of the 50+ community, which makes up 41 percent of the population. And with First Lady Michelle Obama advocating for active children, expect to see more physical fitness in schools, youth-based classes at fitness centers, and families who work out or participate in outdoor activities together. ACE offers its Operation FitKids™ curriculum at no cost to educators looking to integrate health and fitness into classroom learning.
7. Advanced Professional Education
More than ever, fitness professionals will view continuing education as an integral action item in further developing their fitness-training knowledge, skills and abilities. Because of the valuable education tools and resources offered by certifying organizations such as ACE throughout a professional’s career, fitness and health clubs will continue to recognize the importance of hiring skilled employees who hold NCAA-accredited fitness credentials.
8. Workplace Support
Due in part to several years of declining economic conditions for business owners, employers will look to outsource wellness programs to local fitness facilities and health clubs that can provide total health management, while seeking out employee discounts and reduced membership fees to increase access for workers.
9. Popular Workouts
Zumba, boot camp–style workouts, TRX Suspension Training and interval training will continue to be popular workout trends. Balance and core training also will become more prevalent in 2012.