I am pleased, but not surprised, that group training has climbed up the trend list this year. I credit the onslaught of fitness boutique studios dedicated to a variety of group fitness classes ranging from indoor cycling to boot camp, obstacle courses, yoga, Pilates and ballet barre fitness programs. Boutique studios have taken what's old and made it new again by breeding small communities of like-minded people and bonding them through activity. It's like finding the right group to sit with in the high school cafeteria. You belong. You have friends. And guess what? You are cool.
When I first came into the industry, the fitness landscape was full of boutique studios catering to a select clientele and touting the very best instructors. Eventually, these studios were eaten up by big box clubs only to be born again decades later. The interesting phenomenon this time around is that we have added technology and more athleticism, attracting a different breed of instructor. Say hello to your "hybrid trainer." This breed of fitness professional can train individuals, coach groups and motivate the masses.
I believe this decade is marked by the evolution of the group fitness professional. In the past, group instructors were dancers who snapped their fingers to the bass beat while strutting their choreographic, heart-pounding aerobics masterpieces to their devoted following. Today's market allows for a broader approach - you can find a specialty class catering to just about any workout style in a community of people who will make it fun, keep you accountable and have similar musical preferences. Clients are using boutiques to supplement their big box or traditional fitness center experiences, so both fitness gyms and studios are seeing a surge in group fitness.
Since group fitness is my professional passion, I am happy to see it flourishing. Get your group on. Try a class.
Group training finished in the second spot in ACSM's Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2018. Group training or group exercise classes are a format taught for more than five participants. Group training moved up from a number six finish in 2017. Read more about the 2018 Fitness Trends here.
Grace DeSimone is the editor of the American College of Sport Medicine's Resources for the Group Exercise Instructor. She also serves on the Executive Council of the ACSM Committee on Certification and Registry Board, and as Chair of the ACSM-Certified Group Fitness Instructor Sub-Committee.