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Here at Aspire, we’ve cast an eye over the crystal ball to reveal the exercise innovations, inspirational tech and influential trends set to take the world of health and fitness by storm next year. In truth, we’ve used our innovative contacts in the industry to discover the upcoming trends in the fast-changing world of fitness. Look out for the emergence of high performance, expert-led running programmes, the re-birth of home exercise routines – aided by new technology – and a return to animal instincts on the yoga mat…

1. High Performance Running

The surge in the numbers of UK runners, empowered by initiatives such as parkrun, look set to continue – though many will be aiming for their PBs with help from a new stream of high performance running groups and track-based training sessions.

“People want new ways to challenge themselves and improve their running times,” reveals Omar Mansour, Running Coach with TrackLife London. “Track running once had a stigma of being a playground for just the elite/club level athletes. But now, with communities such as ours, everyday runners can come and train in an arena that motivates them to progress and reap the benefits.” Omar, whose team will launch Track Life x running club in conjunction with Pullman hotels in 2019, says that runners want to become faster and fashionable.

“We have a 65% female and 35% male average split in our sessions,” he explains. “The typical age rage is someone in their late twenties to late thirties. But what we love is that our youngest guest has been 7 years of age and our oldest guest has been over 60 – and we have a total mix of running abilities at our sessions.” Taking to the track is set to take off big time.

2. Digital Fitness Home Workouts

A 21st century makeover for the Jane Fonda home workout is on the cards thanks to interactive 4G and 5G workout sessions streamed to smart TVs.

FIIT TV’s founder, Ian McCaig, revealed how this ‘Netflix of fitness’ is set to take off. “The home workout market hasn’t really evolved in the last 30 years. But with the development of Smart Technology, Wearable devices and Live Streaming – all of which are now ubiquitous – we can deliver an interactive, more social and more immersive experience to users,” says Ian, who believes there will be more innovation in the next 3 years than the last 30.

Ian insists that brands like Peloton, Zwift and Fiit will drive the adoption of at-home fitness solutions – which could be very bad news for some gym brands. “There’s no reason why this market can’t be bigger than the gym market in the next decade as people look for more convenient, more cost effective and often more motivating ways to get fit,” he adds. “The market is ripe for disruption and I do believe digital fitness will be one of the leading drivers in shaking up the industry. Digital Fitness is growing 10 times faster than the gym sector at 40% and 4% respectively.”

3. Techno Rowing

The launch of The Engine Room workout space in London, featuring a new generation of Technogym rowing machines, is one of the most significant examples so far that rowing is set to become the new spinning. As fitness enthusiasts seek out ever more challenging ways to achieve their daily hit of HIIT (High-Intensity-Interval-Training) the rower has come to the fore as the piece of exercise kit to have at home or hog at the gym.

“The reason rowing hasn’t taken off so far, despite the promise, is because no-one has done it properly,” says Chris Heron, personal trainer and owner of theengineroomlondon.com. “We use Technogym’s SkillRow, and a screen at the front of the room that displays each individual rowing machine’s performance, which helps motivate you to push harder. We use different measurements in different sections of the class, this is very motivating.”

Chris’ classes – including Row 101 for beginners with 20 minutes coaching – will resonate with those looking for variety in their cardio workouts and intensity but with some expert guidance for newbies too. If that sounds like ‘spin’ then these rowers could be on to something.

4. Running Incline

Trail running is on the rise as the desire to experience a more mindful, meaningful and often digitally detoxifying form of exercise takes runners to the paths and fells. The Guardian* recently reported on how the website listing the world’s biggest ultramarathons has witnessed a 1000% increase in the number of races on its website since its inception.

Paul Larkins, editor of TrailRunning magazine believes the desire for adventure running and doing ultramarathon distances is set to be major trend in 2019, partly due to it being an ideal antidote to the time pressures of life.

“In the past couple of years, I’ve seen an amazing rise in trail running. The shoe and apparel companies are doing better than ever. Even as we speak, we couldn’t get into a trail race – it was already full,” Paul enthuses. “I was running across Hampstead Heath recently and behind me I could hear a couple of runners chatting about an event they did in Dartmoor. It’s amazing; more and more are turning to trail events.”

So what is it about the off-road run that appeals so much now?

“I think Holly Rush (Commonwealth Games endurance runner) sums it up that nicely when she says; ‘I want things to be mysterious, wild and adventurous. To step in to the unknown and explore my surroundings’,” explains Paul. “We spend too much of our time distracted, running on the trails and mountains helps me stay calm and present.”

*http://bit.ly/ultramarathonarticle

5. Inner Animal

Animal Flow, a new take on an old activity, is heading this way from the USA. The exercise routine, which combines the flexibility enhancing moves of yoga with the agility demands of breakdancing, is set to leave Pilates, Hot Yoga and more sedate stretch sessions in its wake.

Spearheaded in the US by bodyweight exercise specialist Chris Flitch, the Animal Flow routines – featuring names like Ape, Beast, Crab and the Scorpion – encourage practitioners to create their own ‘flows’, stretching safely whilst also strengthening weaker areas like the wrists. Animal Flow is already capturing the imagination of CrossFit devotees and its focus on mobility and flexibility may well appeal to runners, riders and all-round fitness fanatics too. Classes kick-off around the UK in 2019.

Written by Rob Kemp, Associate Journalist.