2014 promises to be an exciting year!
Here are the top 3 fitness trends in exercise I think we'll see flourish this year:
The Gym 2.0
With numerous online streaming workout sources available online, it will be no surprise to see some of the major traditional gym chains finally get in on this growing trend in 2014. Crunch Gym, the first of the national franchises to launch their online counterpart, introduced Crunch Live this year, and I expect to see many of the other big brands follow suit in order to compete with the already popular streaming sites such as EMG Live Fitness, FitnessGlo and Physique57. (And rumor has it that a major gym chain will begin recording its classes live (instructors will have to sign off on this and all the gym to essentially 'own' their class video content) and offer them streaming live online -- a model that we may see many of the larger chains may also pursue).
The Recovery Reaction
With the rise in popularity of high intensity, all-out workouts like CrossFit, Tabata, HIIT and metabolic conditioning, look for a softer side of fitness to grow in popularity this year. As more and more enthusiasts experience the injuries, extreme soreness (or even the potentially life-threatening rhabdomyolysis) that their favorite hardcore workouts can cause, look for the industry to respond with practical solutions that help balance out this type of training (EQUINOX, for example, has already taken note of this trend and introduced their "Rx" class series to address this).
Simplicity as the Ultimate Sophistication
Gyms are no longer impressing potential members with rows of equipment -- instead, we're seeing more and more studios and gyms do well with much less (CrossFit and the at-home DVD program "Insanity" are perfect example of this). As consumers become more and more fitness savvy, they are looking for more than just lots of fancy machines when it comes to their workout space -- battle ropes, climbing ropes, pull up bars, free weights and even just space to utilize your own body weight will be higher on their checklists when it comes to finding a space to train. The industry has been taking a 'back to basics' approach now for several years, and I think this trend will continue next year with more of the traditional gyms and programs finally getting on board with this concept.