DOSE contributor Lucy Fry talks to expert scientists, trainers and nutritionists about wellness trends to look out for in 2017.
From details on what to wear, what to download and what classes to try, to augmenting our reality and doing twenty minute workouts in a full body vibrating suit…
1) We’re augmenting our reality
According to a UK Active survey, 57% of Brits will engage with personal trainers via TVs and computers in 10-years’ time. But why wait a whole decade? If developments in augmented reality are to be believed, 2017 will take our love of exercise to infinity and beyond.
More gyms will be offering live streamed classes (via screens) at any time of the day. Brands like The Conquerer will give us a chance to race virtually too.
Paul Bowman, CEO of Wexer Virtual is on a mission to turn health clubs fully digital. He says: “The world of paid digital fitness is growing by 400% year on year. More companies are trying to seamlessly integrate our real and virtual worlds, creating fitness content that’s built for the intimidated fitness users (who might not feel ready for a live class), as well as those who want a cheaper, round-the-clock version.”
2) We’re getting App-solutely serious
According to a recent report from Flurry Analytics, fitness apps are growing at a faster rate than the entire app market, with some of the most innovative, cutting edge technology.
“2017 will see us using our phones and tablets to track our progress in more and more detail as the apps available become increasing cutting edge,” says Steve Mellor, founder of the London based elite Personal Training service, Freedom2Train.
“There are some extraordinary, peer reviewed, science backed apps that have come out recently like My Jump, which does amazing things like calculate your jump height based on the iPhone’s video capture ability and measure your force-velocity profile by performing several jumps with varying loads.”
3) Urban retreats
The only trend potentially bigger than using technology to enhance your workout is getting away from technology altogether. ‘Back to basics’ training and primal training methods, continue to grow in popularity and will keep on booming in 2017.
BioFit – the nature-inspired gym is designed to bring the outside world in, creating a nourishing, indoor oasis to reduce stress and boost productivity.
Wild Fitness – one of the first ever providers of natural movement education – is branching out and offering new three-day urban retreats in a number of new destinations for 2017 including Barcelona and Berlin. You can join their weekend sessions in London on Hampstead Heath or Battersea Park.
As part of the wider trend towards ‘curated journeys’, these retreats will include a variety of sessions from martial arts and ninja training to Parkour and contemporary dance. Just remember to switch off all tech and go back to the (urban) wild.
4) We’re taking a new class of supplements: Adaptogens
Jon Denoris is an exercise scientist and founder of two London personal training studios including Club 51 in Mayfair. “We’re seeing a big rise in the use and prescription of adaptogens amongst nutritionists and coaches,” he says.
“Adaptogens are a class of herbs that help the body to treat itself. My favourite is an arctic root extract called Rodiola which helps the body to adapt to stress and which I suggest to any of my clients who are putting their body under physical stress by training heavily and / or going through an emotionally or mentally taxing time too.”
5) We’re sleeping on infrared mattresses
First they wowed athletes everywhere with their infrared-infused wearable base layers. These did wonders for recovery by harnessing body heat and converting it into infrared light to help prevent the onset of muscle soreness. But now the performance wear brand Kymira is really branching out.
After hearing customers were so impressed with their gear that they were actually sleeping in it, they started developing infrared sleep gear. 2017 will see the launch of three different grades of mattresses, as well as the more portable mattress toppers and bed linen for travelling athletes who are serious about the recovery-enhancing potential of a good sleep.
6) We’re doing twenty minute workouts in a full body vibrating suit
Yes, we know wearable tech is a huge rising trend, as confirmed by the latest WorldWide Survey of Fitness Trends from the American College of Sports Medicine, who named it number one for 2017. But there’s more to it all than compression gear and in-built heart rate monitors. Training with a vibrating suit on (only mildly painful, we promise) is skyrocketing in popularity and looks set to become more mainstream in 2017.
How does it work? “Electronic Muscle Stimulation Technology (EMS for short) is a German technology which enables savvy users to get 98% of their muscles going and helps to re-engage nerve pathways in the body that can become disengaged after hours of sitting,” says EMS expert and Personal Trainer, Rob Tynan. “The workouts are so powerful, I don’t even advise anybody do them more than twice a week!”
7) We want to play as well as train
“I think there’s going to be a continued push towards the gymnastics style of training amongst the average person, not just the super fit,” says international fitness educator and coach, Rich Scrivener.
Rich is also a master trainer in the increasingly popular movement discipline, Animal Flow where devotees crawl around the floor like scorpions, leopards and monkeys. “The trend towards calisthenics and more playful styles of movement is getting stronger and next year we’ll see more of that and variations of classes.”
Some CrossFit affiliates are now offering high quality calisthenics tuition such as Motus Strength in Fulham and Momentum Training in Haggerston. To get yourself above ground, check out recently revamped Circus Experience, Southwark Gymnastics Club and Gravity Training in Lee Valley.
Technogym Master Trainer, David Howatson suggests the biggest trend of all could be in the expansion of Trampoline Parks in the UK (even GLL are incorporating parks into their new centres). Stayed tuned, and keep airborne.
7) We want financial rewards for being fit
The flesh is willing, the spirit is weak… but the wallet is even more willing than both, perhaps? Fitness looks set to get even more financial in 2017, as the trend towards paying people to workout continues to reap dividends (perhaps literally) this year. David Lloyd has experimented with this idea already with RunForYourBun campaign, where you run, quite literally, for your lunch.
Tech ventures like Gympact enable users to set a weekly pact to hit certain goals. Cash in on other members’ failures if you reach those goals, and cough up if you don’t! The recently launched My Money Time rewards workouts tracked by fitness devices or smartphone apps with discount vouchers. What’s next, we wonder? Mobile phone credit or deliveroo vouchers for every spin class or 10k run?
8) We’re taking sitting seriously
“People have been aware of the dangers of extended periods spent sitting with bad posture for a good while (issues I see in my clinic all the time). But at last we’re seeing tools – educational products and services – launching with the aim of empowering people to sort themselves out,” says Sports Chiropractor Andrew Martin.
“I’m excited about the brand new interactive, educational tool dedesk.me – a ten day programme that helps people eradicate many painful issues associated with being a desk jockey.”
You can also turn the time you spend sitting into an opportunity to exercise with TechnoGym’s Wellness Ball that promotes ‘Active Sitting’. Other high tech mobility equipment to watch out for includes vibrating foam rollers (yes really). Use them wisely is all we’ll say…
9) We’re analysing our readiness to train
It’s no longer just the results of our training we want to track, but also our state of readiness to train. “I’m seeing more coaches use heart rate variability devices with their clients to measure the state of their nervous system and how ready they are for different types of workouts – high intensity or perhaps more relaxed,” says top fitness educator, Rich Scrivener.
“With a good heart rate monitor and an app on your phone you can now measure the distance between one spike and another, like on a heart rate monitor.” If the spikes are too close then you’re over stressed and should opt for a lighter workout or walk. If they’re far enough apart, you’re ready to go hard.
10) Meat-free living
It might not be new but meat-free lifestyles are definitely on the rise says Matthew Plowman at Cardiff Sports Nutrition. “Vegetarianism and veganism are both set to become even more popular in 2017,” he says.
“The increased availability of food like wheat berries, peas, broccoli and kale, as well as protein powders made out of peas, hemp and sprouts, are making it easier for people to embrace a meat and dairy free lifestyle without compromising on muscle mass.”