Exercise trends come and go, then come around again. By moving with the flow and continually honing your skills you can build a fluid yet solid career, writes group fitness guru and FILEX Presenter of the Year 2018, Marietta Mehanni.
I smiled recently when I overheard a class participant ask a friend ‘Do you remember the grapevine we always used to do in classes?’ I certainly recall that! I also remember that before the grapevine we used to run around in circles – an activity that I had just been observing in a BODYATTACK class.
Exercise fads and fashions come and go, and then come again, taking it in turns to have their moment in the spotlight before shuffling to the back of the class and waiting quietly to push their way back to the front a few years, or decades, later, decked out in some fancy new gear.
I remember the dreaded burpee in PE at school 35 years ago, and now it seems to be a go-to exercise for many high intensity workouts (despite still being dreaded by many!) People often scoff at the concept of ‘aerobics’, yet it has simply changed names to ‘group fitness’ or ‘group ex’. I taught circuit classes in the late 80’s and early 90’s before it fell out of favour. It’s back from the wilderness now though, and with a little rebranding has become the cool thing to do.
Trends may cycle, but with each revolution the industry has become more mainstream. In the early 90’s ‘being in the fitness industry’ was a part time job that you did on the side of your ‘real’ job. In my neck of the woods I was one of the very few career fitness professionals. Now it’s a desirable industry to work in, fuelled in part by that juggernaut of our times, social media, which has created Insta-celebrities that share their ‘fitspo’ training tips and tricks to achieve six-packs and poppin’ booties.
Active wear (formerly known as ‘workout gear’ and before that ‘aerobic outfits’ and worn strictly in the aerobics studio) is now common attire for just about any occasion, regardless of whether or not a workout is planned. I frequently overhear people chatting in cafes and other non-fitness environments about what exercise program they are doing and who they are following. I never used to hear people talk about exercise outside of the gym.
It appears that the concept of moving for health has needed to be branded to encourage people to move, and the more sedentary society has become, the more we have to sell it. In fact, moving for health now appears to be more like moving to achieve the currently desired look, ripped muscles for men and, now, also for women. The social media workouts are intense and focus on grit and determination, yet this seems to have polarised the market. While some take inspiration and motivation, others turn away from what appears to be an impossible task.
Positively, though, more members of our growing older population are participating in physical group activities and enjoying the benefits of healthier eating in a bid to continue living independently for longer and avoid the ravages of ageing that they witness in friends and family.
What will be the ‘next big thing’? Who knows, but I can guarantee that exercise itself will not be unfashionable – it will just be a case of what is ‘cool’ to do right now. Ensuring that you are always delivering what your demographic are ‘into’ right now is key to a thriving fitness career. Ongoing education and events like FILEX keep you up-to-date and make sure that you are both ahead of the pack with regards upcoming trends, and equipped with the knowledge to answer the ‘why’ that your savvy clients will want to know.
Marietta is a multi-award-winning presenter with over 30 years’ teaching experience in both land and water-based group fitness. She is also an instructor mentor, World Master Trainer and education coordinator for Gymstick International, co-creator of MyGroupMove and mSwing, and Pelvic Floor Ambassador for Continence Foundation Australia. mariettamehanni.com / mygroupmove.com / mswing.com.au