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The 6 Biggest Trend Shifts in Fitness

We hit fast-forward and saw the future. Now we’re back to bring you an exclusive preview of the trends and technologies that are about to make your workouts a whole lot better.

OLD: TAKING SUPPLEMENTS STRAIGHT UP
NEW: ADDING PHYTOSOMES TO SUPPLEMENTS

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If the supplements you take aren’t working, it may not be their fault. Your body could just be incapable of absorbing them and letting them work as intended. Two kinds of molecules—polyphenols and triterpenes—form part of the natural defense mechanisms that exist in plants (to discourage insects and bacteria from eating them). They’re abundant in nature and impossible to avoid consuming in a normal diet, and they block the absorption of many of the nutrients we eat or supplement with, decreasing their potency. Savvy supplement makers are combating the problem by adding phytosomes to their formulas. “Phytosomes are molecule carriers that form a small layer of fat that encapsulate molecules,” says Sol Orwell, founder of examine.com, a site dedicated to evidence based information on supplements. This lets the supplements you consume get absorbed to a greater degree, since many beneficial compounds (like polyphenols and triterpenes) are large and end up being eliminated without benefit. The phytosomes allow the supplement molecules to be taken right into your blood stream, making them more usable in the body. Take curcumin, an anti-inflammatory ingredient, for example. On its own, curcumin, whether eaten or taken as a supplement, is poorly absorbed. But phytosomes assure delivery of its nutrition. “Phytosomes are a cheap, natural way to circumvent this problem,” Orwell says. “And they may even cut supplement costs over time, if less of the molecule is required by the manufacturer [to achieve the intended effect in the body].”

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OLD: BOOT CAMPS
NEW: CUSTOMIZED CLASSES BASED ON SKILL

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People who feel isolated by personal training—or simply don’t want to pay high prices for it—often sign up for boot camps so they can work out with others who have similar goals in a more playful group setting. But boot camps, which boomed through the past decade, are now on the wane. “We’re already seeing the death of the fitness boot camp on every corner,” says Pat Rigsby, CEO of the Fitness Consulting Group, a company that helps fitness professionals build their businesses. “The model isn’t providing the best results possible, and those trainers providing low-quality programs are slowly disappearing.” The problem with boot camps is the onesize- fits-all approach. When everybody in the class more or less does the same workout, individual weaknesses are rarely targeted. That holds clients back from achieving their goals. “It will be replaced by a blending of more thoughtful and specific evaluations and programming while still taking advantage of the group format,” says Jonathan Fass, P.T., a physical therapist and strength coach who has lectured at Rutgers University. What’s next is a new, hybrid fitness approach that offers individualized group plans. The boot-camp format of big-group training will remain, but participants will work on their individual weaknesses within it. It’s a system more akin to what martial arts dojos have done for hundreds of years already. Everybody trains in the same room practicing punches, kicks, and holds, but the white belts work with one another while the black belts do more advanced training.

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OLD: PERSONAL TRAINING AT YOUR LOCAL GYM
NEW: CUSTOMIZED ONLINE TRAINING

Until recently, if you wanted to work with a great trainer, you had to be geographically close to one and have ample funds to pay his rate. But now talented trainers from all over the world are bringing their workout programs to the digital universe. You can get access to training (and nutrition) that’s real-guy tested as well as research approved just by going to their websites. Being trained digitally, it seems, might even be more effective than doing it in person. Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, compared Web-based health and fitness programs with non- Web-based ones. The Web plans were more effective at teaching new information and creating behavioral change, which resulted in clients maintaining their weight loss, and even improving their own perception of their bodies. Instead of being forced to select a trainer available in your area, which can be quite limiting, depending on where you live, you’re free to find the best resource for you. While an elite coach might cost you as much as $300 per session face-to-face, online you’re usually charged about half as much per month, with discounts for early enrollment, referral of friends, and other circumstances offered regularly. Of course, training remotely puts a greater onus on you to actually get the work done. You don’t have weekly appointments at the gym to meet a guy with a clipboard who will count your reps and hold you accountable should you miss a session or cheat on your diet. Furthermore, some online coaching programs could make you feel like a number rather than a client and can be impersonal. However, many include access to forums where other coaching clients—and sometimes trainers—share their experiences and exchange inspiration, advice, and recipes for healthy food. If you’re self-motivated and don’t need anyone looking over your shoulder in order to get the work done, online training may be a great option for you.

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