The Future of Fitness

Lakelands resident and personal trainer Lenore Gelman, left, warms up with a client at the start of an outdoor session.

With New Year’s resolutions now one month old, The Town Courier sought out local fitness professionals to weigh in on the trends in fitness for the coming year. Feedback revealed today’s emphasis is on back to the basics and “Back to the Future” all rolled into one. While many trainers and fitness enthusiasts now forgo fancy equipment for effective exercise, there are many high-tech gadgets and applications that assist in tracking workout regimens and results.

Lakelands resident and Studio 310 owner Liz Corah said, “People are getting back to their roots when it comes to fitness. They want their bodies to move and to have fun. They don’t want to stand in a gym and lift weights in a weight room or move through the circuit on the machines.”

Personal trainer Lenore Gelman noted, “People want to keep it exciting and get the maximum benefit out of the shortest time period.”

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) confirms these sentiments are in line with national trends. According to ACE, Americans are leaning toward “no-frills fitness” with simple exercises or classes that don’t require an engineering degree to operate the necessary equipment.

ACE also sees a trend toward group classes and training. Corah has seen this firsthand at her studio as well. “The classes — dance classes in particular — are standing-room only. People want exercise to be more social and not intimidating.” The more social aspect lends itself to boot camp classes, dance classes and small group personal training.

Gelman, a Lakelands resident as well, said she has also “seen an increase in small group training as I work with clients in their homes, in a gym or even outdoors.”

Kentlands’ Foundry Fitness owner Eric Pellicci said, “As the public grows more knowledgeable about fitness and what they need to do to get results more efficiently, the more ‘specialty gyms’ like Foundry Fitness I foresee popping up in the future. Having worked at a major gym chain, I have seen so many people spending countless hours in the gym, wasting their time and not knowing it, and they still look the same! Training consistently for one hour, three times per week at the right intensity level, along with the correct exercise choices and variations, is all you need.”

Choosing the correct exercise is key, according to all of the fitness experts we spoke with. Gelman has seen a trending toward “functional movement — especially geared to older adults. [This] is exercise that mimics body movements made every day. Bending down and coming back up using resistance, as an example. Exercise like this helps stave off injury from normal activity.”

Corah has tried to offer a little something for everyone at the studio. Although her emphasis is dance, “people just want to move and have fun, so we have hip-hop, zumba and other classes to give people options,” she said.

The options for fitness are as vast as the body types that partake in them. Gelman said, “adventure races like mud runs and the like are growing in popularity as well as sport-specific training for youths. High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT is also huge right now because it blends cardio and strength training in one 45-minute session. People can accomplish more in a shorter period of time.”

And time is the “X” factor when it comes to fitness. Finding the time and making the most of the time allotted to fitness is critical. One way to ensure efficiency is by utilizing a fitness application for tracking exercise and results.

According to a Reasearch2Guidance report, industry experts expect the number of health and fitness apps to quadruple by 2016. The 40,000 health apps currently available in the market were expected to garner approximately 1.3 billion in 2012 alone.

Gelman said, “I have a Nike training app that is well packaged, and I can just pull it up and use it wherever I am.”

There are literally hundreds of applications that let users download workout videos, track mileage and set fitness, dietary and weight goals.

“Yes, the fitness apps are huge right now,” agreed Corah. “They are an easy and accessible way to track diet and fitness.”

Although no one says fitness is going to be easy, the trends for the coming year certainly indicate it can be more fun.

“The old, conventional theories are gone,” says Corah. “Workouts don’t have to kill you in order to be effective. The goal is to feel good and release the endorphins and actually enjoy it.”