Fitness trends for 2015
What are the latest fitness trends for 2015...?
Unsurprisingly, educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals and personal training were two of the top 5 predicted fitness trends for 2015 according to the American College of Sports Medicine. However our Head of School Paul Swainson has picked out a couple more from the ACSM’s top 20 which he thinks will feature more prominently next year, as well as another two he thinks will be key for personal trainers.
Sitting down at number 13 in the ACSM’s list, under the title ‘Wellness Coaching’, behaviour change skills are increasingly recognised as being fundamental to success for fitness professionals. Traditionally we have adopted an ‘instructional’ approach - telling clients what to do, and perhaps why they should do it, but not necessarily how. Coaching is a becoming a buzz word in the industry and I think 2015 will see a big focus on this key area. Watch this short interview I did at LIW in October for more info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZKRKI3wD6Q
Small group training
While one-to-one personal training will always have a place – ultimately if someone has a very specific goal they want to achieve it’s often more effective to work with a trainer exclusively – many fitness professional have recognised that the community aspect of training 3, 4, 5 and perhaps up to 10-12 people simultaneously adds a huge motivational boost. You get the benefits of the class environment whilst still being able to devote enough attention to the individual.
I believe this trend will continue and alongside it the targeting of niche markets. I’ve long been an advocate of specialising as a PT, but now so-called ‘micro-gyms’ which offer a single discipline such as indoor cycling (e.g. SoulCycle) have picked up on the fact people want specific services that suit their needs in a group environment, rather than generic exercise facilities. Taking this across to the small group training setting, a highly effective strategy is to create a product for particular types of client with particular goals. Future Fit graduate Craig O’Toole has a great example of this with his business Man Alive.
If you’re a self-employed trainer or running your own gym, knowing the basics of setting up a business, or at least having access to advice and guidance from an expert, is essential. Beyond that, even if you’re an employed personal trainer, to attract clients, have them sign up to work with you and retain them, skills in marketing and sales are vital. Whilst all fitness professionals have the passion and enthusiasm for helping people to achieve their goals (I hope), on it’s own this isn’t enough. Having training and support in business skills should be a priority for PTs and that’s why we developed our Career Accelerator Package. This is something that the industry will see increased focus on in 2015.
Personal training has traditionally taken the form of direct live interaction between client and trainer, meeting for one-to-one sessions in person at the gym or some other location. Some years ago I was asked to give my opinion on the Nintendo Wii Personal Trainer game and whether it would impact on our industry. I said not significantly and would like to think I was right! I still don’t think you can ever replace the need for personal contact but in recent times the huge advances in technology mean it’s almost impossible not to integrate some of it into your business, especially when it can actually help you to get better results with clients.
Of course we’ve had heart rate monitors for years but wearable physical activity trackers and nutrition diary apps now make it far easier to keep tabs on exactly what your client is doing, and the feedback can be a powerful motivator for behaviour change (for example the hard proof that they aren’t as active as they thought during the day can spur them on to move more).
Then there’s the tech that makes it far simpler to run your business: online booking systems, client management software and even just using a tablet rather than clipboard, pen and paper can free up time to spend doing what you love – training people – as well as help to portray a modern, professional image to existing clients and potential new ones.