The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s leading authority on fitness and the largest nonprofit fitness certification, education and training organization in the world, today announced the top ten fitness trends for 2011 based on an annual survey of its extensive worldwide network of personal trainers, group fitness experts, advanced health and fitness specialists and lifestyle and weight management consultants. With over 2,700 responses, the findings conclude that consumers have a more positive outlook on the future economy and also realize the importance of taking care of themselves – inside and out.
“After what has been a tough couple of years economically, things are looking up as far as the fitness industry is concerned,” said ACE’s Chief Science Officer Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D. “Consumers are ready to focus on improving their overall health. We will witness an increase not only in personal training, but in value-added wellness services such as nutritional counseling by registered dietitians at gyms and fitness clubs, corporate wellness plans and youth-based fitness curriculum. Additionally, we will see a continued trend toward working out with a buddy or within small groups for motivation, as well as continued interest in boot camp-style workouts, unique activity options like Zumba, TRX Suspension and interval training.”
The following represents a listing of the top fitness trends for 2011 according to ACE-certified fitness professionals:
- Economic Upswing: In general, consumers are preparing for an economic upswing that is motivating more individuals to resume their personal training and fitness regimens. This promising shift was also observed in ACE’s 2010 Fitness Professionals Salary Survey, which showed an overall increase in annual salary rates and benefits for full-time fitness professionals across all categories this past year.
- Added-Value Wellness Services: More gyms and clubs will begin to hire other allied healthcare professionals to serve the expanding needs of their health-conscious members. ACE’s partnership with NuVal™ LLC, creators of the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System, a nutritional ranking system that guides consumers to more nutritious food choices, recognizes the need for people to take care of their physical health by also monitoring their dietary intake.
- Stress Reduction Through Fitness: With the increased knowledge of how stress negatively affects the body, gyms and clubs will start offering wellness programs so their members develop effective strategies for managing their stress levels. Consumers can expect to see new and improved programming to help alleviate this all-too-common by-product of our time-pressured lifestyles.
- Technology Becomes a Support Resource: Although there have been a great deal of technological advances within the fitness industry, online interactive classes will not proliferate in 2011, demonstrating the desire for human contact with fitness professionals. However, social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will become increasingly popular serving as an online motivational support system to complement personal training sessions.
- Buddy System: Healthy support groups will become a more popular offering in gyms due to peer encouragement and increased potential for success. This thinking also holds true for older adults, with the majority of them seeking group classes to stay fit. ACE’s Trainer Program for AARP includes a number of new benefits to address the unique needs of this population, which remains dedicated to living healthy lifestyles.
- Most Popular Workouts: Boot camp-style workouts will remain popular among consumers based on its intensity and efficiency. Zumba classes will continue to offer a fun alternative to more traditional dance classes, while TRX Suspension training and interval training both offer intense workout experiences with impressive results. Consumers will learn about the effectiveness of interval training in an upcoming ACE study in 2011.
- Small-Group Workouts: Small-group sessions remain a very popular way for individuals to exercise. Whether through personal training, strength training, cardiovascular exercise, or sessions for older adults, small-group sessions will be “in” as a way to socialize, cut costs and stay motivated.
- Youth-Based Fitness: Expect to see more youth-focused classes and clients popping up in gyms thanks to the national attention and focus on childhood obesity. Schools and fitness centers will also incorporate more exercise curriculum for the youth population and, as such, take advantage of ACE’s Operation FitKids curriculum, which has recently been revamped and expanded with a new program targeting students in grades 6-8.
- Corporate Wellness: Whether it is through the hiring of in-house personal trainers or discounts and incentives offered to employees that join a health club, corporate wellness programs will emerge country-wide to help encourage healthy lifestyles among workers, especially time-crunched consumers.
- Elevated Professionalism: There will be a significant increase in the hiring of personal trainers that hold a NCCA-accredited certification at gyms and fitness centers. With consumers becoming more educated and fitness-savvy, they understand the need for fitness professionals to have the proper education and high-quality certifications.