10 Fitness Niches
10 Fitness Niches which you should be designing in now!
High-Intensity Interval Training
High-intensity interval training (or HIIT) took the top spot in this year's survey (it was also number one in 2014). A HIIT training session involves bursts of maximum-effort, very hard work (typically about 20 to 90 seconds), followed by a period of low-intensity recovery. The goal is to recover enough that you can go hard again during your next work interval. If you're a beginner, you might have longer rest intervals, or work intervals that are challenging but not at maximum effort.
Group training (or group fitness classes) didn't make the top 20 trends until 2017, but their popularity is rapidly rising. The ACSM defines group training as a workout for five or more people led by an instructor, designed to be motivational and effective for people of different fitness levels. This could be anything from trendy HIIT classes like OrangeTheory Fitness, to dance cardio classes, to old-school step classes at the YMCA.
Activity trackers, smart watches, and heart rate monitors are as popular as ever—if you're into seeing your workouts by the numbers, wearable technology can give you interesting feedback about how you move. Many estimate your steps, sleep, standing time, calories burned, and time spent working out.
While bodyweight training has been around for a long time, it's been re-popularized by the fitness world over the past several years, says the ACSM. Bodyweight training is popular thanks in part to its convenience. There's no equipment and minimal space required, so bodyweight exercises are great for anytime, anywhere workouts. Most bodyweight exercises are accessible for any fitness level, and they're often easy to modify, too.
Strength training has been a strong trend since the first year of the survey, according to the ACSM. And with good reason: Strength training is an extremely important element of any fitness routine. Strength training helps prevent the age-related decline of muscle mass, keeps your bones and heart healthy, and helps prevent pain and injury in everyday life. Muscle mass also plays a role in maintaining a healthy metabolism (although it won't drastically increase the number of calories your body burns at rest).
Educated, Certified, and Experienced Fitness Professionals
While this might not seem like a particularly glamorous trend, it is an important one. According to the ACSM, there's been growth of educational programs and certification programs that have been accredited through legitimate organizations (such as the Committee on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences). Certification standards differ by organization, but in general, a certification means that a trainer has taken a standardized test to demonstrate knowledge of gym safety, exercise form, and training principles.
While yoga has landed on the trends list for many years, it moved up one spot in 2018. The ACSM credits yoga's consistent popularity with being refreshed and reinvented every year—there's no shortage of styles to choose from, including Iyengar yoga, power yoga, Bikram yoga, and more, and each come in and out of popularity.
Personal training has been in the top 10 trends since this survey began, according to the ACSM. Getting one-on-one time with a trainer can help many people reach their goals in a safe and effective way that works for them. Of course, personal training isn't the only way to have an efficient and individualized workout routine—it can be pretty expensive, so while personal training can be helpful, it's also not realistic for everyone.
Fitness Programs for Older Adults
According to the ACSM, there's a growing market for fitness programs that are tailored to older adults. After all, staying active is a great way for people to maintain bone and muscle mass with age, in addition to overall health benefits. In 2018, there may be more specific classes and fitness programs designed for retired people looking to make fitness a priority.
According to the ACSM, "functional fitness is defined as using strength training to improve balance, coordination, force, power, and endurance to enhance someone’s ability to perform activities of daily living." For example, a squat is a functional exercise because it also works the muscles you use to squat down to grab the phone you dropped.
So, what are you waiting for? Start designing in the fitness niche today! It is more than just running and weightlifting!