17 Top Fitness Trends for 2017

In need of new inspirational ideas? Tired of the treadmill and bored with the bike?

Don’t miss out on these cutting-edge and innovative ways to train in the coming year. Some of these systems are brand new and some are only now getting popular. There are some far-out ideas here ­­­– but they all still work, so be open-minded.

Research shows that all these fitness regimes are trending right now and are predicted to grow in 2017.

It really looks like these trends are going to make it big, and as well as the general order, I totally stand by #1 as definitely the number one top trend in fitness (and it’s one that raises some interesting ethical questions).

So if you want a change from the spinning classes (surely the dullest way to exercise and probably what Sisyphus did on his day off), check out these top fitness trends for 2017 sourced for you by Personal Trainers London Ltd and you’re sure to find something to re-inspire your fitness goals.

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17. Beat (literally) the workout blues with Pound

Pound is “the world’s first cardio jam session inspired by the infectious, energising and sweat-dripping fun of playing the drums“.

The creators of Pound, Kirsten Potenza and Cristina Peerenboom, were both former athletes and drummers who became bored with the routine of their Pilates classes.

They realised that they could blend drumming and exercise into something new and exciting. The use of lightly weighted drumsticks in the exercises results in an intensive workout which is claimed to burn up to 900 calories in just 45 minutes. Wow!

Think no-one is aspiring to the physique of a drummer? Think again. They started in LA in 2011 and at latest count by 2017 there will be well over 7,000 instructors in 35 countries. As they say, “POUND is a place where the rhythm rules. We are a family of Fitness Rebels born to stand out, make noise and disrupt norms.” Sounds like fun!

Pound - a new fitness craze for 2017

16. Latest fusion of East & West – BodyArt Training

Latest fusion of East & West – BodyArt Training

Robert Steinbacher is a Swiss movement therapist and dancer. From this combination and with some input from Chinese internal therapy DO IN, he formulated a new system for enhanced functional movement development, which he calls BodyArt Training.

In association with Alexa Le, a Shiatsu professional, he further developed the system to incorporate elements from yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong and breathing exercises. As Robert says, “the unique aspect of BodyArt is that every exercise can be proved in an energetic, anatomic, muscular, organic and physiologic way“.

The actual classes are divided into two main systems – BodyArt Strength and BodyArt Energetic. They both incorporate the 5 elements of traditional Chinese Medicine and treat the human being as a unity of body, mind and soul.

In the first system, all exercises are created to combine strength, flexibility and balance. In the second, the focus of the training is on flowing movements, stretching and relaxation. If this sounds like your cup of tea, why not look up an instructor.

15. The evolution of fitness classes – Animal Flow

Ever wanted to get back to basics – to the (forgive me) bear necessities? So did Mike Fitch, a fitness professional from Miami Florida. Over 18 years’ experience in the fitness industry he innovated various systems of movement. Many of these incorporated equipment such as weights and kettlebells, but now he works only with body-weight regimes.

One of these is Animal Flow which is a program that “combines quadrupedal and ground-based movement with elements from various bodyweight training disciplines to create a fun, challenging workout emphasising multi-planar movement”.

15. The evolution of fitness classes – Animal Flow

The exercises in Animal Flow are grouped into six component groups, each designed to elicit specific results. These groups are – Wrist Mobilizations, Activations, Form Specific Stretches, Travelling Forms, Switches, and Flow. The animal references appear here, as in “Ape Reach, Crab Hold, and Scorpion”.

The “Flow” section of the system is where moves are linked together in a flowing sequence which can be choreographed or freestyle when the practitioner is proficient enough.

You might have seen animal movement-type classes popping up recently as it gets more popular. Animal Flow® instruction is given by qualified teachers, but may also be sampled on a DVD, making it easier to release The Beast in you.

14. A groovy new fitness fashion – Body Groove

Director of a top health club in California and former NIKE Global Elite Athlete, Misty Tripoli knows something about fitness. Yet despite her success, Misty suffered from negative body image, was overweight and bulimic at times. One day she had an epiphany and quit her high-powered job and moved to the Caribbean where she founded a global dance movement called Body Groove.
She claims that the Groove Dance Experience “is a revolutionary and simple approach to teaching movement that makes authentic dance easy and natural for everyone. No fancy steps or choreography to memorise. Just unite in a ridiculously simple movement connected to make you want to dance.”

Her system is now taught by providers around the world and there are many dance retreats organised in exotic locations. You can also download a series of DVDs from her website. So one way or another you can get your authentic groove on!

13. Limber up for the New Year with Barre Fusion

Barre is a combination of classical ballet conditioning routines with rehabilitative therapy. It was developed by Lotte Berk, a German ballerina, who opened her first studio in London in 1959. One of her students, Lydia Bach, brought the workout back to New York in 1971 and opened a studio there.

Over time, instructors developed their own versions of the system and Barre Fusion was born. The sessions combine bodyweight exercises such as press-ups with work at the barre (like, the actual bar around the edge of the studio) for leg and glute workout.

Here, movements are done in tiny increments of progression. These isometric contractions help isolate the slow-twitch muscle fibres, which helps increase endurance. There is also less risk of injury than with traditional strength training.

Barre Fusion methods continue to evolve and there is a plethora of varieties on offer. One such is offered by the eponymous Barre Fusion in Chelmsford. They offer a fusion of ballet, Pilates and yoga set to upbeat popular music. It’s claimed this delivers a high energy, high impact workout that combines strength and toning with flexibility and cardio all in one.

Its growing popularity now justifies its inclusion in our top fitness trends for 2017 – if you live in London you have plenty of choice, including Paola’s BodyBarre where they offer a variety of classes of different intensities. These range from their PBB Signature class, which draws on Pilates and barre techniques, to Boxerina, which, as you might expect is a mixture of ballet and boxing!

13. Limber up for the New Year with Barre Fusion

12. WaveShape – the new wave of fitness?

Do you want to have the lean toned body of a surfer without getting your feet wet?

Well now you can with WaveShape, an exercise regime developed by Adam Rosante, a celebrity personal trainer and avid surfer. Three years ago, he was approached by Anna Jerstrom, a former merchant banker turned professional surfer and swimsuit designer, to develop a workout that would improve her performance on the board.

The result was “a high-intensity, 45-minute full-body workout designed to create a slim-yet-strong surfer’s body, build explosive power, increase total body strength, skyrocket endurance, improve flexibility, and boost confidence.”

Originally launched as a one-off, month-long event with thousands of people attending, it soon became internationally popular.

As Adam says, “this workout takes the multi-dimensional movement patterns used in surfing to boost functional strength and endurance that works on the waves and builds a tight, toned body that looks great on shore.”

So get out your Speedo’s and get ripped!

11. The fitness dance class brought to you by the letter B – Bokwa

Sweat the letters and dance the digits!

This is the motto of Bokwa, another dance-inspired exercise regime. This one was developed by Paul Mavi, a South African dancer and musician living in Los Angeles.

A leading group fitness instructor, Paul created this system for his own classes over an 8 year period.

What’s new about this dance workout is that participants draw letters and numbers with their feet whilst performing an energising cardio workout routine.

The routine might be the top fitness trend for calories burned, as it is claimed to burn up to 1,200 calories in one session!

You learn the steps and then you can move freely to the beat of addictive popular music. It is said that “if you can move and you can spell then you can do Bokwa“.

Applicable to all age groups and abilities, it looks like a fun way to burn calories in a group dance setting.

You can find certified trainers worldwide from https://bokwafitness.com

The fitness dance class brought to you by the letter B – Bokwa

10. There can be only one (trending exercise class accessory) – Bodyblade!

Ok it’s not as mighty as Highlander’s sword, but the Bodyblade is pretty handy nonetheless. It has been around for a long time, since 1991 unbelievably, but seems to be making a comeback for 2017 as gadgets of all kinds are increasingly fashionable in the world of fitness. This simple piece of equipment was the first of its kind. Created by Bruce Hymanson, it pioneered vibration and inertia training back in the day.

Shaking the flexible blade while performing other body movements is claimed to increase overall strength, balance and coordination as well as improve joint stability and flexibility. There are also claims of a stronger, more reactive core and increased muscle endurance.

This piece of equipment has had its share of detractors over the years and it’s fair to say that it won’t build you huge muscles. That’s why we have the barbell, isn’t it?

But it’s a low resistance bit of kit that won’t injure you and is suitable for elderly people and those with some physical impairment. In fact it’s been used extensively in physical rehab centres for years.

Many people swear by it and some have even used it for decades. So it seems to last well. One criticism is the price – it starts at $69 for the basic model if you buy it new. However, they are often available on eBay second hand.

9. Latest take on the medecine ball – UgiFit

Image courtesy of Yogathletix

9. Modern update of the medicine ball – UgiFit

UgiFit might just be the most unattractive name for a fitness trend I’ve come across but apparently it’s from “yoU’ve Got It” – get it?

The central piece of equipment, the UgiFit ball, based on the traditional medicine ball, was created by Sara Shears over a two year period. She wanted a piece of equipment that was easily portable and would aid in training for functional movement.

The ball is weighted, squishy, and ­– crucial for the discerning exerciser in 2017 – of a stylish design. The squishiness is essential as it can be balanced on for some of the specific exercises Sara developed for her system.

The program that comes with the ball is a series of one minute exercises which, with rest periods, takes half an hour in total. It’s designed to be done five days a week.

Ugi “combines strength, cardio and core training into the most fun, challenging and stylish way of becoming functionally fit.

Available from ugifit.com, the Ugi Home System gets you a ball, DVD, stand-up workout guide and recipe book, all for €125.

8. Latest low-impact dance craze – Nia

Nia is an alternative system of aerobic exercise and strength training aiming for safe, non-impact, body-mind based movement. It was created by Debbie Rosas and Carlos AyaRosas when, following sports injuries, they decided to research a new way to exercise. They spent the next 13 years developing the system together.

Nia is a holistic fitness practice which addresses the three aspects of body, mind and soul. It’s a combination of dance, martial arts and mindfulness and is designed to tone your body while transforming your mind.

The non-impact barefoot cardio-dance workouts combine 52 simple moves into an hour long session.

The training for Nia instructors is fairly intensive and is graded by a belt system (white to black) adapted from martial arts. The instructors study the 52 principles of Nia in 5 core areas – Movement, Anatomy, Science, Music, and Philosophy.

Nia classes and instructors can be sourced via the website, and if you’re really into it, you can get clothing and accessories to match.

Nia is becoming more popular and there are now hundreds of classes each week in London and across the UK.

7. New twist on traditional exercise systems – Yogalates

Yogalates is, obviously, a blend of yoga and Pilates, and this fusion is booming right now globally with many people offering such generic courses. However we need to go back to the founder of the movement, Louise Solomon, to discover the philosophy and principles behind her creation.

Louise has been a yoga practitioner for over 25 years and a Pilates teacher for nearly 20 years. A growing concern with yoga-related injuries led her to develop this blend of yoga and Pilates in the late 90’s. This method “draws upon the fundamental foundation of Exercise Physiology (prescriptive exercises in functional patterns of movement and postural evaluation), Physiotherapy exercises and Yoga Therapy.”

New twist on traditional exercise systems – Yogalates

The element of safety and the needs of the individual are always at the forefront of this method. Because yoga poses can be quite complex in execution, there is a need for the instructor to have an understanding of pelvic and spinal stability in order to avoid injury. Pilates offers a range of foundation principles which makes the practice more secure.

Originally based in Australia, there are now accredited teachers available internationally. There are DVDs to buy from the website and also a choice of watching them online on any device for a subscription fee. Finally, if you’d like a one week retreat with Louise herself teaching on the magical island of Bali, get on it quick – few places left.

6. Bollyrobics: The up and coming dance workout with Eastern promise

Bollyrobics is a fun dance workout based on the dance steps and music typically found in Indian Bollywood films. It incorporates fast, timed movements, designed to tone, build muscle and stay fit. No dance experience is required and it’s lots of fun!

There may be no original creator of this fusion but one instructor who has solid credentials is Deepti Sami, founder of Bolly-D dance Fitness. Indian by birth and now living in Edmonton, Alberta, she studied classical Indian dance from the age of three under renowned Indian dance masters. She went on to formulate her own combination of aerobics and traditional Indian dance as performed in Bollywood films.

You may think it would only be popular in India, but there are many classes available in London, so if you want to start 2017 with a Bollyrobics class in the capital, you’re in luck!

5. Hot new fitness trend – Hot hula

Could this be the hottest fitness trend on the list? Anna-Rita Sloss founded Hot Hula fitness in order to make a difference in people’s lives by giving them fun and effective group and home fitness workouts that support an individual’s passion for dance and wellness.

Of Samoan origin and living in New Zealand, she grew up with traditional Polynesian values and culture. After marriage and children she became very overweight and finally went back to the gym. She became a very successful personal trainer and appeared in many videos.

Encouraged by friends, she decided to formulate an exercise program that represented her native culture. As you might expect, Hot Hula is a total body workout inspired by dances of the Pacific Islands set to the sounds of Polynesian drum beats fused with funky Reggae music.

There are now thousands of instructors of Hot Hula around the world and of course you can buy instructional DVDs from the website.

If you want something a little hotter than Hula you can try Hot Fusion. Anna-Rita recently developed this combination of New Skool Dance and resistance training set to Old Skool tunes. As she says, “Hot Fusion fuses cardio and sculpting, taking your fitness to a whole new level, while having fun, enjoying music and feeling like a confident dancer.”

Hot new fitness trend – Hot hula

4. Poolbiking – a low-impact new way of using an old technology

Fitness class doing aqua aerobics on exercise bikes in swimming pool at the leisure centre

This may look a little strange – a stationary bike underwater – but if you must ride a bike whilst not going anywhere, there are actually some advantages to Poolbiking, or Aquaspinning as it’s also called.

It’s harder to work out in water because of the resistance, so you can burn more calories this way, meaning it’s good for weight loss. Also the pressure on your legs forces blood back up to your heart and thereby improves the circulation. This results in easier recovery from the workout.

Body weight is reduced by around 80% underwater, which decreases the joint impact and strain on muscles and ligaments. This low-impact exercise is much more free from potential injury and is the reason it’s recommended in physical rehab situations or for elderly or infirm people.

3. The return of the Rower

This piece of equipment has been used in gyms for a long time, but fell out of favour and was replaced in popularity by the rise of spinning classes on the stationary bike.

However, its use is increasing and will be even bigger in 2017. Why should it, you ask?

It’s a very effective bit of kit for weight loss – a 30 minute session can burn over 350 calories. It’s a great workout for the cardiovascular system, making your heart pump and increasing your breath volume. Rowing, unlike cycling, works all the major muscle groups in the body against resistance. That resistance is in two directions whereas cycling is one way only. Therefore it’s better for building both strength and endurance.

Because you’re sitting while exercising, rowing is a low-impact method, as long as you maintain good form. There is very little stress on the joints and thereby less risk of injury. So if you don’t have access to a river, get down to the gym!

The return of an old favourite – Rowing Machine
Timeless classic – Bodyweight Exercises

2. Timeless classic – Bodyweight Exercises

No time to go to the gym? Intimidated by the complex machines in there? Or maybe money is too tight right now for the membership. These may be some of the reasons why good old bodyweight exercises are on the rise as a training method.

And why shouldn’t they be right at the top of our fitness trend collection? When you consider that they are free, require no equipment, are infinitely variable, and devastatingly effective. That’s right – they really work. Body weight exercises are resistance exercises, which means they are a form of strength conditioning. The resistance in this case being the weight of your body.

Many studies (example) have shown that strength training can give benefits that include:

  • More lean muscle mass and fat reduction
  • Healthier blood cholesterol levels
  • Healthier blood pressure levels
  • Increased oxygen use by muscles
  • Reduced risk of stroke and other cardiovascular conditions
  • Improved cognitive activity and growth of brain cells
  • Anti-aging processes in both body and brain

For more inspiration to perform some bodyweight exercises check out this article by Dr Axe: Bodyweight exercises

So there you have it. Get down and press-up. With bodyweight exercises you’ve no excuses.

1. The top trend – Fitness trackers

1. The top trend – Fitness trackers

Yes, the number one fitness trend for 2017 is, for the second year in a row, the wearable tech that is fitness trackers. These little wristbands seem to be everywhere now, and their abilities keep growing. The first ones, if you remember when they came out only a few years ago, counted steps taken daily as an indication of overall health.

Today they have many functions – total time exercising per day, heart rate monitor, calories burned, distance run, time asleep, goal setting, etc. Of course they also integrate with personal fitness apps on mobile and laptop, and interact with social media. Doesn’t everything these days?

What are the benefits of using one of these devices? Firstly, they are motivating, as wearing one displays the fact that you take your health and fitness seriously. They also make visible your daily goals and thereby reinforce your aims. By linking to social media, where you can post your results, they add accountability to your efforts. They are not cheap, which can also be a motivation, as you’ll not want to waste the hard-earned money you spent buying it by not using it.

It’s still early days for fitness trackers, and consumers report some difficulties with their gadgets. Problems include inaccuracy in statistics, discomfort in wearing, poor battery life, and inability to discriminate between different activities. However with the speed of development in high-tech industries these glitches should soon be sorted out.

There are other considerations with wearing these devices though. They are tracking gadgets after all and the information they receive is also given out, not only to you. That intimate data about your physical health, daily routine and precise location is being sent to “the cloud” and is not always protected from interception by outside agencies.

This is a worrying aspect of the continued rise in usage of fitness trackers and one which we touched upon in a short post this year. However in this age of Big Data we feel it deserves an in-depth article which will appear on our site in the New Year

So if you wear a fitness tracker or are thinking of buying one, you’ll want to read this and get the real facts. Drop by the site next month or sign up for regular updates by email.

Until then, keep fit and have fun!

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is a staff writer for Personal Trainers London Ltd. 

His special areas of interest are fitness psychology, toning, and personal trainer career development.