The first time we surveyed members for the annual IDEA Fitness Programs & Equipment Trends report, in 1995, personal training was just beginning to emerge as an affordable exercise option for most consumers and as a viable career choice for fitness professionals. Pilates had been around for decades; however, relatively few exercise professionals knew much about it. Zumba® What-a? Never heard of it.
So how do we keep members coming back and entice others to join? Jade Teta, ND, co-owner of Metabolic Effect in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, suggests that it’s time to change the way we exercise. “The average person doesn’t have a lot of time or money to devote to fitness,” he says. “People are looking for high-quality training, but without the cost. They also want programs that are exciting and challenge the mind and body.”
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Germans seem to embrace equipment wholeheartedly. According to Drums Alive® founder Carrie Ekins, MA, of Kutzenhausen, the most popular classes in Germany use training equipment. “Typical equipment that has been on the market for years is still the most popular. This includes Redondo® balls (small 22-centimeter inflatable balls), large stability balls, tubes, bands, dumbbells and barbells.
Hoopilates is a new Pilates-based workout created by Brooklyn, New York, resident Jen Bleier. The hybrid class combines the Hula-Hoop with Pilates moves. According to the website, “A waist-hooping warm-up is followed by seated and standing Pilates exercises and stretches.” Hula dance intervals keep the heart rate up, and participants also learn hooping tricks.
Dance is a key word on group exercise schedules in Mexico, as dance-based fitness classes are heating up gyms everywhere. Latin rhythms, hip-hop, salsa and belly dancing are popular, according to Norma Zurita, a 23-year veteran of the fitness industry and group fitness coordinator of Sport City in Mexico City. Indoor cycling, circuit training, kickboxing, step and strength training classes are also well-liked. On the other hand, high-impact classes or those featuring complicated, advanced choreography get a thumbs-down.
Do your clients or exercise students enjoy taking walks during their gym-free hours? If so, you might suggest they pick up some Nordic walking poles to help improve caloric expenditure. According to a recent study, Nordic walkers may reach up to 80% or more of their maximum aerobic output; this accounts for a 67% increase over traditional walking.
EastSide Centre in East Peoria, Illinois, gives its members a blast from the past with Retro-Cardio. The schedule touts the 60-minute timeslot as “an aerobics class from the good old days” and features a high-low floor routine combined with strength training.
This year our 14th annual survey
went to club owners, fitness
directors and other fitness professionals
in the midst of a
financially unstable economy.While the
fitness market may not be booming, it
seems to be at least stable, which is great
news when businesses all around the
globe are faltering. The really encouraging
aspect of this year’s results is that the
diversity of classes, equipment and programs
offered has continued to increase.
2009 IDEA Fitness Programs
& Equipment Trends
How to Read the Numbers
The percentage (%) reflects the
number of survey respondents who
answered yes to a given survey
question. All percentages have been
rounded up at 0.5 and down at 0.4.
Percentages do not necessarily total
100, because of multiple or missing
The most popular fitness classes in Israel are body conditioning, core training, stability ball, yoga, step and dance-based formats, notes Yoav Avidar, international fitness presenter from Tel Aviv, Israel, who has been working in the fitness industry for 12 years. “In general, and especially during these days of economic hardship, popular equipment-based classes are ones that use the equipment the club has!” he says. “Clubs and studios are very hesitant to buy new equipment, especially if it’s relatively expensive.