With Christmas excesses out of the way thoughts turn to getting fit in the New Year. This is not a new phenomenon and does provide a source of amusement within the world of exercise professionals. However, if the start of a new year is your chosen start point then so be it. Any start point is better than no start point. Extra time of during festive holidays offers people a chance to reflect and plan. What are your fitness plans for 2018? Each year the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) publishes it survey of predicted fitness trends. Surveying over 4000 recognised fitness professionals it canvasses expert opinion of what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to getting fit during the year ahead. The full survey is beyond the scope of this blog. Here, I highlight some of the key findings.
HIIT viewed as the Number 1 way of getting fit
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) tops this years fitness charts. Always near the top of the predictions, HIIT has lots of advantages. Developed from traditional interval training it comprises very high intensity work periods that are interspersed with short rests. HIIT gives more bang for your buck. Interval training is time efficient, comprises simple movements and offers a great training stimulus. The high intensity characteristics do come with some risks. Injury can be an issue for those who try to go too hard too soon. Therefore, be sure to scale back the movements or intensity if you’re just getting back into it.
The recognised fitness industry predict that wearable technologies will remain big during 2018. The advances in this field have been incredible this year . Moving on from simple activity trackers, people are looking for greater insight. In addition to time, distance and intensity measures, many devices are now advising athletes on recovery times. Whilst this information can be very useful, I will insert a word of caution. Wearable technologies cannot completely replace the information that your own body gives. Becoming too reliant on technology may reduce your mind – body connection during training.
Earlier this year I encouraged a client to not look at her GPS stats during the final 2km of her 10km race. I feared that the watch was dictating the pace and reducing her feel when it came to ‘kicking harder’ towards the end of the race. Sure enough, she ‘felt the force’ and went sub 60 minutes for the first time ever.
Use exercise and getting fit as medicine
Several trends can be grouped together under the umbrella of health and fitness for purpose. From providing exercise for older people that combat adverse effects of ageing through to the rise in functional fitness. The impact of sedentary lifestyles is catching up on us along with an ageing population. Maintaining muscular strength and mobility must be a key feature of all exercise regimes. At the sharp end of functional fitness are the tactical strength and conditioning coaches working within uniformed public services. However, just as important is the work being done with the elderly to help them maintain day to day independence.
No room for youth fitness?
In this year’s survey there is no room for training young people inside the Top 20! This is the biggest surprise of all. At NK Fitness we have found that training youth level athletes is one of the fastest growing areas. Increasingly, parents of talented young athletes are looking for professional help and employing youth strength and conditioning services. Training high performing young athletes continues to be a growth area. We would disagree with the ACSM Survey on this one.
If you would like to see how we can help you in the New Year to achieve your fitness goals then please contact us about personal training. If you are the parent of a talented performer then ask us how strength and conditioning can help improve their performance.