FIBO 2017, the leading international trade fair for fitness, wellness and health, held in Cologne recently highlighted a number of key industry trends.
Gerry Gerhardt, head of the Bodytec® Training Academy, who attended the expo, reports on the top trends evident this year at FIBO, where over 1,000 exhibitors from 49 nations, and 150,000 visitors gathered.
“Muscle Stimulation”: EMS training is a growing market
With an entire exhibition hall focused on different Electro Muscle Stimulation (EMS) training devices and concepts, it was impossible for anybody at FIBO to miss the growing size and importance of EMS training.
With EMS training. a trend that is also gaining popularity in South Africa, users wear body suits attached to electrodes that send electric impulses through the body during a workout to activate muscle groups. Some of the results users can expect to see from EMS training are increased endurance, and muscle building.
There is no surprise the trend is making its mark globally, given that a 20-minute session with a provider like Bodytec®, once a week is tougher than hitting the gym, with equal, if not better results.
This highly effective training method has been used by professional athletes and sports rehabilitation centres for decades. Furthermore, research from international sport institutes has shown that EMS training is much more effective than conventional fitness training.
“Functional Floor”: Team work is in
Another strong trend emerging at FIBO 2017 is the functional floor (also known as “functional station”, “functional corner”, “functional box”). The basic idea is to create an “active” space in the gym, where a combination of sound-, light- and computer-systems create circuit training.
Either a trainer or a computer assists with timing, setup and exercise selection of individuals or training groups and is supposed to create a fun, flexible and motivating training environment. The functional floor is primarily designed to facilitate group classes and allows participants to work against each other in performance teams (determining who works harder) and has already been well received by many gym members in Europe.
“Smart Gyms”: Technology makes its mark
In a continuation of the biggest market trend of linking training and technology in the form of wearable devices (iWatch, FitBit, Garmin, Polar etc.), a new way of using training data from heart rate monitors and wearables seems to be emerging in the form of group fitness monitoring – the “Smart Gym”.
This is already evident in many spinning classes or HI(I)T cardio sessions, but newer developments will create individual sessions, and weekly and monthly reports through a monitoring app. The goal is to provide constant validation and monitoring of training results for clients.
“Aqua Fitness Comeback”: Anything goes
Aqua boxing, aqua spinning, aqua yoga, aqua trampoline, in fact aqua anything… I’m not sure yet if it will be trend or fad, but the development of aqua yoga boards, boxing gloves, aqua punching bags, aqua trampolines, aqua weights and aqua bicycles indicates a comeback of the fading group training classes in the pool for new target groups, and one of the most popular presentations in the group fitness market.
“Music Moves Us”: Party life hits the gym
The group fitness industry is promoting the entertainment factor to motivate and activate people, as “Breakletics” (mini-breakdance moves in a cardio fashion choreographed with music) and Clubbercise (dance fitness routines using glow sticks to club anthems from ’90s classics to the latest chart hits taught in a darkened room with disco lights) are set to “rock” gym floors soon.
Bodytec® is South Africa’s original EMS training studio launched in Cape Town in 2011, and now with 30 studios around the country.