What’s Hot in 2015

Originally written for www.stuff.co.nz, published 6 January 2015


The fitness industry changes fast, kind of like the fashion industry. As Heidi Klum would say, one day you’re in, the next day you’re out.

Each year the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) surveys the fitness industry globally to uncover what’s in and what’s out for the upcoming year.

ACSM’s top 5 for 2015:

  1. Body weight training – think push ups, burpees, squats and lunges. The excuse ‘you couldn’t get to the gym’ is invalid in 2015. Body weight training is low cost (no gym needed), and you’ll always have the equipment you need – do it anywhere, anytime.
  2. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – short bursts of high intensity exercise followed by short rest, on repeat. Typically HIIT workouts are no longer than 30min, making this the perfect time efficient workout for today’s busy people.
  3. Educated and experienced fitness professionals – it’s no surprise people want their fitness professionals to know what they’re doing. The NZ Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs), is our registration body for fitness facilities, exercise professionals and education providers. REPs registration gives independent verification that a person or facility meets industry standards on an ongoing basis.
  4. Strength training – strength used to be about bodybuilding but the proliferation of programmes like CrossFit means strength is in. It’s not just for the big boys anymore – more women are getting hooked too. People want functional strength to make life easier. Look out for more qualified strength coaches aimed at the general population to help you to perfect your Olympic and Power Lifting techniques.
  5. Personal training – this is in high demand due to an increasing sedentary market and as baby-boomers reach their retirement years with disposable income and a focus on keeping aging at bay. Educated personal trainers are needed for intelligent programme design, exercise technique and rehabilitation, health and wellness.

I can’t argue with the ACSM but if we widen the scope to wellness, there’s a few other trends to be on the lookout for in 2015:

  1. ‘Well-th’ not wealth – shifting away from the ‘work hard play hard’ model where more is best towards a sustainable, balanced lifestyle. Increasingly, people are valuing a richness in purpose and happiness rather than material or monetary wealth.
  2. Holistic health – being physically healthy is not enough anymore. Awareness is growing around mental, spiritual and emotional health and the need to address all aspects for health. Meditation, yoga and taking ‘time out’ isn’t just for hippies anymore.
  3. Movement based exercise – body weight training, with a twist. The linear repetitive exercises traditionally used in gyms are phasing out and exercise is becoming increasingly more 3-dimensional and unpredictable. At one end there’s parkour, using your body and momentum to move around obstacles efficiently, as well as various ‘primal body weight training’ systems based on animal movements and natural movement skills in response to your environment. At the other end are mobilisers and gentle movements manipulating the integrative nature of muscles and its surrounding connective tissue (fascia) to increase range, stability and ease of movement.
  4. Eating for nourishment – we used to count calories and be obsessed with low-fat and no-fat. The movement towards wholefoods, supply-chain consciousness and a resurgence in cooking with local, fresh, seasonal ingredients is turning this around, helped out by Paleo lifestylers and companies delivering home-cooked nutritious meals, menus, recipes and ingredients to your door weekly, if not daily. Time magazine confirmed fat is no longer the enemy in 2014, and the war against sugar is taking over.

The fitness, health and wellness industry are growing by the year and there’s a trend to suit everyone in 2015.