Over the summer, I was on the fitness conference circuit, attending major events in cities considered to be among the fitness “hubs” for North America (San Diego, Toronto and Vancouver).
My goal was to observe programs that have a major impact on the fitness industry right now. Here’s what I came up with:
HIIT Is a Hit:
HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training, which involves challenging yourself for short bursts – like 30 seconds at a time – then recovering with light movement for about that same length of time. Really advanced interval training has you recovering for even less time than the span of the intensity intervals.
Loads of people in the fitness industry love HIIT (myself included) – multiple HIIT sessions were at every conference I attended. Why? HIIT provides a host of benefits – including a high calorie burn and low learning curve.
And it’s appealing even though it’s tough because each interval is like a small goal you can tackle in a matter of seconds. That builds confidence and success – one interval at a time. I expect we’ll see more HIIT training for the rest of this year and into 2013.
Speaking of high-intensity training, CrossFit is an example of that type of workout and a lot more. This heavy-duty strength and conditioning program brands itself as a broad/generalized fitness approach versus specializing in any particular area.
What CrossFit does specialize in, however, is getting paying customers into CrossFit gyms – and keeping them coming back. Mainstay CrossFit exercises include lifting a barbell over your head, doing pull-ups and running hard.
Seems like CrossFit is everywhere: A quick look at this CrossFit locator shows thousands of locations worldwide, mostly in North America.
I don’t do CrossFit, but I “get” it’s appeal on some level. If you’ve ever met a CrossFit fanatic (or you are one), you know that the CrossFit folks are, um, hardcore and VERY dedicated.
With their own magazine, language (e.g., WOD, or Workout of the Day) and widely attended CrossFit Games , it’s safe to say CrossFit has attracted a community of avid followers who have no intention of giving up the CrossFit lifestyle in the near future.
For that reason, CrossFit has quickly become a main attraction in the fitness industry and an important business model worth watching.
Zumba Is Where the Party’s At:
Like CrossFit, Zumba has built up an über-committed community of followers (yep, they’ve also got their own magazine).
The Zumba program is based on Latin-inspired dance fitness and a party atmosphere, so you can imagine the classes are quite lively! With the catch phrase “party yourself into shape,” it’s obvious why so many people are hooked on Zumba. It beats a boring hour on the treadmill.
At fitness conferences, I can see that Zumba is a major trend – those flashy electric-coloured Zumba outfits are everywhere – but just to corroborate my personal observations, here are some actual stats from Zumba’s official website.
Zumba reaches 14 million participants every week with 140,000 locations across 150 countries. Wow! Using their class locator, I found 608 classes just in the Greater Vancouver area, where I live. Chances are, there’s one or more near you, too.
Of the three fitness influencers I mentioned above, I’d say HIIT matches my personality best. What about you?