By now most of us have returned to our normal routines following one of the strangest Christmas and New Year periods certainly that I’ve ever experienced. If you’re like me then the sooner we get back to our regular ‘habits’ the better.
And (hopefully) this includes your fitness and well-being schedule.
However, I’ve been keeping an eye out for what’s going on in the constantly-changing world of personal training, and I thought you might be interested in some of the ‘nuggets’ of information and ideas I have gathered from around and about.
One impact the pandemic has had on a great many people is the rise in anxiety and even stress levels linked to the massive changes in our social interaction – or lack of it- over almost two years of necessary distancing, mask wearing, isolating etc.
It appears that the result has been that, although personal training fitness sessions delivered via “collaboration tools” such as ‘Zoom’ have been very well-received and worked extremely well for most people during the pandemic, the vast majority of clients (and me!) prefer the immediacy, accuracy and sociability of face-to-face workouts. There is recognition that the value of exercising with a qualified instructor is increased if they are actually in the same room advising on posture and technique etc! Not to mention improvements in mood and better sleep benefits. And this obviously applies to face-to-face, individual classes in the gym as well.
As far as I am concerned if any of my clients prefer a ‘Zoom’ session, either as a last-minute change for convenience or for a long-term programme, I ensure my workouts can be made-to-order however they need to be delivered. (And I have some clients abroad who can be serviced only via ‘Zoom’).
Also, truly personalised programmes, rather than a pre-recorded You Tube workout, are more popular than ever, creating more challenges for personal trainers to ensure they monitor progress and analyse performances of individual clients to ensure they are receiving the optimum coaching for their own particular needs. (Of course, many PTs do this assiduously already because that’s what’s expected).
Another noticeable dynamic is the growing use of smart technology with wearables such as Smartwatches, fitness trackers like ‘FitBit’ or eGym, ‘joule’ wearable jewellery, smart clothing, ‘implantables’ or even smart tattoos! Offerings such as ‘Whoop’ and ‘Joyn’ are now tracking ‘wellness’ in addition to exercise activities.
It goes without saying that the absence of a qualified fitness expert at the “point of use” raises the risk of misuse and over-reliance on technology at the expense of quality of exercise.
The same could be said for the myriad of free online sessions that seem to have proliferated in the past year or two. Again, the objective is to be commended but the principle of designing a tailored fitness programme to address individual needs and circumstances, including medical conditions and physical limitations, never gets a look in due to the generic delivery and absence of immediate feedback. Care should be taken to check that the instructors are qualified and the publishers are verified or approved before you take on one of these programmes.
Some organisations in the field of delivering fitness and wellbeing courses believe that more employers may take to subsidising their staff on fitness programmes or via well-being allowances. It could be worth making enquiries in the right circles about that!
The ‘High Intensity Interval Training’ concept is taken to another dimension with ‘ZUU’, which uses 30 animal movements such as the bear crawl (walking on all fours), frog squat (a dynamic squat position) and gorilla walks (jumping like an ape) and mixes them with bodyweight exercises for muscle, aerobic and anaerobic work. Maybe you’ll see some of these in our workouts in the future 😉
Having said that high intensity workouts are popular in time-limited situations, the demand for more low-impact exercise is on the up, with rowing and Pilates-style isometrics enjoying increased interest. This seems to come hand-in-hand with functional training where the movements are closely related to actions of the body in everyday situations like climbing the stairs, standing up from chairs etc.
Other activities I am seeing more and more examples of are trapeze, trampolining and weighted hula hoop exercises. Even roller skating has been brought to the fore by trending on TikTok (and I now have a set, so watch this space…!).
And at this point I should state my personal interest in pole and aerial hoop fitness. I chose this to enhance my portfolio of exercise offerings because they are fantastic, low-impact methods of getting super strong, working the cardio vascular system and getting a total-body workout. Whether in a class or 1-1, Pole and Hoop is SUPER challenging but also such a laugh. Combined with cross-training in the gym, I highly recommend you give the aerial fitness life a go!
One fact is abundantly clear, whatever the latest trend, properly designed personal training plans will accommodate them and enhance the combined effects to deliver a true cross-training regimen to the benefit of the client.
So that’s my “take” on the likely shape of some of the fitness and wellbeing themes, memes and maybe dreams that we’ll see through the next 12 months.
One thing I can guarantee in 2022 is that I shall continue my journey to learn more about what I can do to propose exercises and activities which improve both the physical and mental wellbeing of my clients