Top 10 Fitness Trends '09: More Bang for the Buck, Boot Camp, Kettlebells

If a personal trainer isn't in your budget for '09, you're not alone. Consumers will tighten their wallets this year to stay in shape in a struggling economy — getting back to basics with simple fitness equipment and workouts they can use at home.

“The overarching theme for fitness in 2009 is getting more bang for the buck,” says Chief Science Officer Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D., at The American Council on Exercise — summing up high points of the ACE fitness trends report for 2009. “Consumers will engage in workouts that provide multiple benefits due to time and economic limitations."

"We will also see continued trends from 2008 including boot-camp style workouts and an increased interest in fitness for those who are over 50 years old,” Bryant adds.

Here's the complete ACE list of the top fitness trends for 2009:

1. Boot Camp-Style Workouts

Boot camp workouts remain extremely popular because they provide a total-body workout that’s varied, fun and challenging. Up to 600 calories can be burned during a boot camp session, which is obviously going to facilitate weight loss.

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But in addition to giving you a great cardiovascular workout, boot camp workouts strengthen muscles through high- and low-intensity toning exercises such as pushups, squats and lunges. Many forms of aerobic exercise don’t offer significant muscle strengthening benefits; look for workouts that combine cardio and strength training.

2. Budget-Friendly Workouts

With today’s economy showing no signs of strengthening yet, more people will cut costs to stay in shape. Of the ACE-certified professionals surveyed for this report, 48 percent predicted gym memberships will decrease in 2009, and 52 percent said fewer people will hire personal trainers. Look for more people to opt for equipment and workout DVDs that let them work out at home and use the resources around them as their gym and equipment.

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3. Kettlebells

The current surge in kettlebell training is attributed to the fact that this method gets back to basics — it's based on functional fitness and whole-body training. Lifting and controlling a kettlebell forces the entire body, particularly the core, to contract as a group, simultaneously developing strength and stability. Kettlebell workouts engage multiple muscle groups, making them a great way to get a whole-body workout in a relatively short period of time.

4. Specialty Classes

While yoga and Pilates will remain strong, dance-based workouts are all the rage this year! Zumba, a fitness program inspired by Latin dance, combines South American rhythms with cardiovascular exercise. Bollywood, ballroom, Afro-Cuban and other exotic dance styles are growing in popularity thanks to shows such as "Dancing with the Stars" and So You Think You Can Dance."

5. Getting Back to Basics

Despite the fact that many types of exercise and equipment are becoming more advanced and trendy, trainers will focus on basic movements and techniques with their clients again. Examples include exercises that use simple, affordable fitness equipment such as balance or stability balls, resistance bands and dumbbells; martial-arts-based workouts; and variations on exercises that use the body's own weight as resistance, such as push-ups, squats and yoga poses.

6. Circuit or Interval Training

Studies have shown that interval training — which combines strength training and cardiovascular activity at different intensities — provides a more time-efficient workout than traditional, separate aerobic or weight training sessions. With an increase in popularity of interval training, many gyms are even setting up their own circuits to allow their members an easy way to do interval training.

7. Baby Boomer Fitness

People age 50+ have the means, motivation and desire to enhance their quality of life through physical activity — and their numbers are growing. The 50+ audience continues to redefine our expectations about age, vitality and life, and has highlighted the importance of physical activity as we age.

8. Technology-Based Fitness

From iPods to Cardio Cinema to exergaming (e.g., Wii Fit, Expresso Bikes), the latest in technology will continue to infuse itself into all aspects of fitness. Look for 2009 to bring more interactive video games that provide fitness benefits, as well as inventive new fitness equipment that makes exercising a more engaging experience.

9. Event or Sport-Specific Exercises

Despite the emergence of new and trendy workouts, sports and recreational activities will remain a popular way to stay in shape. Participating in a friendly game of basketball or volleyball, training for a marathon, or taking a day-long bike ride are just a few ways that people are staying in shape and having fun doing so!

10. Mixing It Up

Traditional fitness classes are changing from what has been called "linear progression" to "undulating" as research shows similar if not better results. For example, mixing low-intensity cardio with intervals on different days, and mixing high-volume, low-intensity weight training with low-volume, high-intensity weight training on alternate days.

Adapted from a report published by The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s leading fitness certification, education and training organization and a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity.


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