From mud races to sweat parties to CrossFit competitions, workouts
turned smarter, shorter and more social in 2012, experts say, as fitness
was sweetened with a little help from smart phones and friends.
"Everything is about making fitness fun," said Jenna Autuori-Dedic, senior fitness editor at Fitness Magazine.
Even those grueling indoor cycling classes were a chance to mingle.
truly think that spinning was one of the biggest things to come out of
2012," said Autuori-Dedic. "They (fitness studios) made it fun. You can
go with your friends, match your workout to the music. When you work out
with friends, you don't realize you're working out."
She said 2012 also saw the rise of the sweat party.
of hitting the bars for that bachelorette party or night out with the
girls, women are going in groups to fitness studios," she explained.
"You don't have to choose between working out and meeting your friends,
you can do both."
Working women have begun treating clients to
boot camp classes in lieu of happy-hour, she added, and more co-workers
host conference room workouts at lunchtime.
Mud runs were another
2012 trend that Autuori-Dedic expects to grow in the new year, along
with fun obstacle-type races in general, during which participants can
get blasted with paint or chased by "zombies," often for charity.
Cyrus, senior vice president of programming at the Crunch national
chain of fitness centers, said dance classes and short, results-driven
workouts dominated group fitness.
"Going into 2012 everybody was
looking for the next Zumba," said Cyrus of the Latin-based dance fitness
craze. "We find that people are looking for fun easy-to-follow dance
Crunch created 2FLY, a dance class based on music of the
'80's and '90's that strives to feel more like a house party than a
The other big trend from 2012, according to Cyrus, is the 30-minute workout.
is realizing that you can get results in 30 minutes," she said, so this
year was also about hard core, body-sculpting, CrossFit-type classes.
CrossFit is an intense, constantly varied, strength and conditioning program.
said the CrossFit games, which are competitions that grew out of the
workout regimen, mushroomed from only 4,000 participants to nearly
70,000 this year.
Richard Cotton, national director of
certification programs for the American College of Sports Medicine, said
2012 signaled a welcome shift back to the basics of training people to
be prepared for daily living.
"We're finally getting smart about
what functional exercise actually is," Cotton said. "Simpler and basic,
easier to do at home, there are fewer silly ball exercises, (such as)
balancing on a ball while doing bicep curls."
Cotton said personal
trainers increasingly apply troubleshooting, motivational interviewing
and coaching techniques to their sessions with clients.
Autuori-Dedic said 2013 will see more trainers displaying their wares online.
"Trainers are live-streaming workouts and putting things on Twitter, iTunes, everywhere," she said.
And sophisticated tracking apps are here to stay.
cited a study showing that people lost an average of 15 pounds and kept
it off for at least a year just by tracking their statistics with an
"It used to be that stepping on a scale once a week would
tell you how far you've come," she said. "Now with our smartphones we
can log in at any time and see how we're doing every step of the way."
© Thomson Reuters 2012