The top fitness trends for 2012

Need some healthy living inspiration for the new year? The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has unveiled their top fitness trends for 2012. Here’s what to expect

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scale weight

1. Obesity awareness

For the first time in three years, obesity rates in North America are falling. The ACE predicts that the fitness industry will continue to rally government, businesses and communities in the fight against obesity. Expect a greater push to get people physically active in 2012. The result? More money spent on programs, fitness trainers and facilities to entice people to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Workout aficionados will also discover extra resources to supplement their active pursuits.

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2. Whole-life training

The ACE believes that health clubs will welcome a more well-rounded approach to client well-being. Trainers will be versed in overall wellness and stress management, and gyms will give physical therapists, nutritionists and psychologists a greater role.


“Clubs of all sizes are adding complimentary services that help members,” says Libby Norris, owner of Inspired Energy and Canada AM’s fitness expert. This move towards life coaching will help people of all ages and incomes.

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happy healthy eating

3. Behaviour modification

Tired of fad diets and quick fixes that end in disappointment? In 2012, ACE forecasts that people will realize that behaviour modification is a more successful path to weight loss than the latest diet craze.


“Opt for small, gradual behaviour modifications that build over time,” says Norris. “Exchange muffins for high fibre cereal with berries, go for a walk at lunch, or set a cut-off time for eating after 8 p.m.” Slow, easy to adopt changes in behaviour will eventually become healthy habits.

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swimming pool

4. Community collaboration

Thanks to the dedication of local leaders, our communities will boast more exercise opportunities than ever before. Watch for expanded access to local fitness programs in gyms, parks and recreation centres in 2012. Families will be tempted by free or low cost activities.


“Look for community centre skate or swim days, community challenges supported by ParticipACTION and intramurals for all ages at schools, churches and service clubs,” says Norris.

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Fitness apps

5. Influence of technology

Addicted to social media and smart phone apps? No need to leave your tech toys behind in the changing room. In 2012, their role in the gym will become more influential.


“Try a nutrition or fitness tracker app, or online exercise videos,” says Norris. Technology continues to revolutionize the fitness industry with interactive programs, on-line or app-based classes and motivational support via websites, Twitter and Facebook.

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senior fitness

6. Senior and youth specialties

Age groups at both ends of the spectrum will receive special attention in 2012. Fitness programs such as aquatic and group activities aimed at the 50+ demographic will be tailored to their needs. Children and youth will benefit from increased opportunities for physical activity in school, fitness centres and at home. Even better – both age groups are encouraged to become active together. “Walking or playing in the park are easy options,” says Norris.

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woman and man at the gym personal trainer weights

7. Specialized personal training expertise

Want to hire a personal trainer? 2012 might be the year to do so. ACE states that increasing numbers of fitness professionals are hungry to expand their training knowledge, skills and abilities. What does this news mean for you? Trainers will be educated on up-to-the-minute workout strategies that will help you attain lasting results.


“Ask your trainer what qualifications they have. Many have great specialties like pre- or post-natal, older adult or functional training,” says Norris. With more trainers possessing specialized skills, consumers will get more bang for their workout buck.

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8. Workplace support

Companies are finally taking note-healthy workers are usually happier workers. In 2012, many businesses will encourage their employees to take advantage of company-arranged discounts at nearby health clubs. It’s never been easier or more affordable to fit exercise into your schedule.


Norris suggests finding low sweat classes, massage sessions, weight management seminars and fitness coaching near the office. Close proximity to the workplace will result in more co-workers capitalizing on these healthy opportunities.

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dance class

9. Popular workouts

If you can’t get enough of Zumba, you’ll love 2012. The ACE predicts that Zumba classes, boot camp workouts, TRX suspension and interval training will continue to captivate fitness buffs this year. Expect balance and core training to join them as hot trends through 2012.


“Many of these programs are offered in community centres, schools or fitness clubs,” says Norris. “They’re short-term commitments that you can mix and match for a challenge.”

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