Top fitness trends of 2016


They help you track your progress and set goals, and in 2016 fitness gadgets will come with even more sophisticated sensors, to produce a wider range of health and fitness metrics. According to health and fitness expert Pete McCall, in 2016 we’ll be measuring of all sorts of physiological parameters, from body composition and aerobic capacity to intermuscular glycogen storage. One company, PostureCo, uses data on body composition analysis that allows a personal trainer to accurately measure a client’s body composition by simply taking a photo with a tablet or mobile device. At CES 2016, the annual Consumer Technology Association show held every January, Withings displayed the Withings Go, which not only tracks activity such as running, walking, swimming, and sleep, but comes with an eight-month battery charge. Meanwhile, the Moff band is an innovative wristband designed to get kids (and adults) to move, with over 30 sound effects ranging from air drums and guitar to baseball and cooking. It’s the perfect wearable to bring creativity into motion.

The Withings Go will be available in 2016 and is expected to retail around $70. The Moff Band is already available and retails for $55, while the Pac-Man version of the app and band is expected for an early 2016 release.

For popular tracking devices in general, accuracy is an issue to be addressed in 2016, based on user feedback on one major brand’s product.


This year we’ll see an increase in outdoor bodyweight workouts and calisthenics parks, particularly as the weather warms up.

Bodyweight and calisthenics training require little to no equipment and has an exercise bank that extends far beyond the traditional push-up and pull-up, creating an attractive way of training.


The mind is where it’s at — new science, accessible practices and exploration of mindset applications for sports performance and everyday fitness performance all mean that the mindset trend will continue to explode. Expect to see an upgrade to your instructor or trainer’s cues, new books on changing your habits (so you’ll actually use the gym membership you purchased), as well as specific programs with workouts designed to serve and train the health of our brain.


High Intensity Interval Training, more commonly known as “HIIT,” remains in the top spots in most fitness trend surveys this year. Although not exactly new, it has recently become a staple in cardio workout and group fitness classes. HIIT has made its name as one of the best ways to lose fat. It has given the time-starved gym-goer a way to squeeze in a colossal workout in a short period of time. Expect 2016 to offer new and creative takes on the HIIT-style workout.


Again, athleisure shows no signs of declining as an option for everyday fashion, and that’s a good thing for us all. What is changing in this growing competitive space is that the styles, options, and fabrics are getting better, more flattering, and diversifying in price range. You can now work out, look great on the run, and not spend a fortune doing so.


Low-Intensity, Steady-State (LISS) cardio will be making a comeback for weight loss and overall fitness. Despite HIIT’s popularity for weight loss, Pete McCall says, “research demonstrates that HIIT can cause a negative experience and emotional relationship with exercise, which could be used as a reason for quitting an exercise program.”


The belief that a training program should reflect what the client actually does in his or her daily life is one major reason why functional training remains on the list of top fitness trends.

Functional training is not only about employing sport-specific training, but also about life-specific training, with functional fitness programs mimicking and supporting activities we do in our daily lives. This is important for seniors, but also specifically for activities such as mixed martial arts, which are still strong as a trend and a go-to workout for those seeking a full-body challenge.


In the past, fat loss and weight loss have meant more or less the same thing to the average gym-goer. In 2016, being fit trumps being skinny or simply thin, so expect to see more attention on reducing body fat through activity coupled with nutrition and behavior modification guidelines, rather than general weight loss and typical restrictions on caloric intake.


With the increasing popularity of high-intensity and strength-training programs, the health of your tissue is an issue. Mobility warm-ups and myofascial self-care routines are becoming more and more prevalent across gyms, online workouts, and integrated with physicians’ wellness prescriptions. Rolling on a foam roller or with therapy balls is a staple in gyms and everyday care at home or on the road. Myofascial self-care stimulates tissues and increases the hydration in your muscles pre-activity, to improve performance and reduce risk of injury. It can also help rehydrate muscle post-workout, releasing fascia and returning the muscle to an optimal state. Expect 2016 to bring movement prep and mobility into more workout routines.


The much sought-after “rest day” in everyone’s training regimens is getting a new look in terms of importance. The recovery period after a challenging activity is when the body actually changes, grows, and adapts to the workout we put it through. According to Pete McCall, “We are increasing our understanding about the role that recovery strategies play in promoting successful physical performance, from cryotherapy in sub-freezing temperatures and compression clothing, to understanding heart rate variability and the importance of sleep.” Fitness fanatics worldwide can expect an array of new and exciting recovery strategies in 2016.


Your new yoga and meditation practice has new digs, and the environment is getting an upgrade. Studios are now becoming Wellness Spaces with color lighting therapy, food that nourishes your body, and plants that improve the air you breathe. Sound, light, and full sensory immersion comprise the new playing field, to invoke that deeper connection with your inner voice.


No matter where you go, you can get your workout on. From mobile apps that help you meditate in any style, train to run any type of race, evaluate everything and anything you eat, to hotels and airports that allow for the fitness upgrade, the expectation is that you want to move and want to do it wherever you go.


Access to quality instruction has long been a subject of discussion in fitness. The best programs were always found in clusters around great talent. This is no longer a restriction, and with the growing proliferation of online fitness programs and self-paced education courses, the best workout with the best teachers are only a device away. MOOCs — Massive Open Online Courses — across all platforms are now offering fitness, yoga, dance, and specialty fitness experiences. This is a booming industry focused on creating a self-paced learning environment, on the go.


Mindset is everything. We all want to get all the support we can to maximize, experience, and enjoy more of our lives — and in 2016, technology will help. Good mental hygiene begins with proper regeneration and a good sleep, and here Sleep Number has you covered, with the “it” smart bed that adjusts itself while you sleep, using sensors to track your breathing, heart rate, and movement to figure out what kind of support you need. Expect to see more apps in 2016 designed to help you become your strongest self. Lantern is a new mental health start-up with web- and app-based programs that explore the dynamics of what we think, how we feel, and what we do, using cognitive behavioral therapy techniques.


In 2016, we’ll see technology play an even bigger part in helping you stick to a healthy way of eating. Smart fridges like Samsung’s Family Hub Refrigerator will monitor what’s in your icebox and remind you to stock up so you don’t run out of the foods you should be eating (although it won’t prevent you from buying what doesn’t belong in there in the first place). Nutrition-scanning apps such as Diet Sensor are part of a trend in replacing the guesswork about what you’re eating with precise analysis. Made by Consumer Physics, the Diet Sensor detects the nutrients lurking in your next bite by scanning your food via a handheld molecular scanner. The Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator is expected late spring and will cost approximately $5,000, and the Diet Sensor is available now and retails at approximately $249.


A big trend in technology in 2016 that may have an exciting impact on fitness, as well as entertainment, is virtual reality. It’s not like the real thing, but it can be pretty close. If your current life may not afford you the opportunity to climb Mount Everest, the Vive headset by HTC and Valve can provide an immersive experience that makes you feel like you’re there. And, if you want to be on the other side of the lens making memories, Movi is a pocket-sized live event video camera with all the right angles, designed to capture real-life activities and events. Created by Livestream, it comes with a companion iOS app that lets you edit while you film. Your loved ones and fans can now graduate from Facetime to real-time. Movi is on pre-order for a limited time at only $199 (regularly priced at $399).