Functional fitness, high intensity training, life/wellness coaching lead Canadian fitness trends for 2016

Fitness experts predict top 10 most effective fitness trends for the coming year

TORONTO, Dec. 9, 2015 /CNW/ - Life and wellness coaching and healthy eating join functional fitness and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) among the leading Canadian fitness trends for 2016, signalling increased awareness of the importance of healthy lifestyle and eating habits in achieving fitness goals.

More than 1,500 fitness professionals ranked their choice for the most effective fitness trend of 2016 as part of the annual canfitpro fitness trends survey. The survey reached personal trainers, coaches, business owners, and group fitness instructors from across Canada during November 2015. Nearly half (49.76%) of respondents have more than six years of experience in the fitness industry. canfitpro compiled their choices to identify the top 10 trends.

Survey results also reveal emerging trends, including fusion-style group fitness that merges different types of workout (LesMills BODYFLOW, Piloxing, Joga), and technology-based fitness such as virtual fitness classes, fitness and nutrition apps and wearable devices.

The top 10 most effective Canadian fitness trends for 2016 are:

1) Functional fitness
Functional fitness involves exercising using multiple muscle groups versus one specific muscle group at a time. Functional fitness programs include practical, balance-challenging movements that simulate activities like shovelling snow, carrying groceries, or unloading the car.  This focus helps prepare for the physical activities of daily life and counters the movement patterns associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Fitness programs like Les Mills BODYPUMP and MYBootcamp are based on functional fitness exercises like squats and lunges.

2) High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT workouts involve intense periods of exercise followed by durations of rest. This high intensity approach is increasingly popular because of the significant benefits it generates in a shorter time than steady-state cardio and because it works for all fitness levels. As more Canadians cite 'not enough time' as an excuse for not exercising, HIIT addresses that time crunch, burning fat and improving cardiovascular benefits quickly and effectively. Examples of HIIT include elements of CrossFit, along with classes like Jillian Michaels BODYSHRED.

3) Life/wellness coaching to complement your fitness training
Life and wellness coaches provide expertise and support to help clients improve their health and lead a more balanced lifestyle. Coaches can help clients reduce stress, lose weight, quit smoking or eat better. Working with a coach, clients can set realistic goals, learn routines to build life balance and healthy habits, and stay on track to achieve results. Many coaches offer their services online to ensure they remain accessible when clients need them. In Canada, many life and wellness coaches take part in Certified Coach Practitioner training offered in conjunction with the Certified Coaches Federation and canfitpro.

4) Nutrition and healthy eating programs
Combining exercise with healthy eating is the best solution to achieve optimal health. Proper nutrition complements fitness efforts and boosts metabolism and energy levels, leading to better results in a shorter time. More Canadian fitness professionals are taking additional training to improve their nutrition expertise, including canfitpro's Healthy Eating & Weight Loss Coach certification and Tosca Reno's Eat-Clean Foundations powered by canfitpro.

5) Express workouts
Express workouts encourage participants do multiple exercises at a fast pace to generate maximum results. This is an effective approach for people on a tight schedule – perfect for lunch time or after work. Providing the ultimate convenience, an express workout typically lasts 30 minutes or less. A good example of a total body express workout is the GoodLife Fitness FIT FIX circuit.

6) Older adult training
By 2030, close to one in four Canadians will be 65 years or over (Statistics Canada). As Baby Boomers reach their golden years, there is significant demand for fitness programs and services to help them stay active and maintain their quality of life. Fitness professionals are taking specialized training for active aging to enable them to deliver safe and effective programs for the older adult.  Many fitness classes, like Newbody, offer a safe, low-impact workout for people of all ages.  

7) Fusion-style group fitness
New types of group fitness classes that combine disciplines -- like yoga and cycling or Pilates and boxing -- are springing up across Canada. Mixing totally different types of exercise to create a new workout helps develop more strength, agility, balance and coordination than a single exercise discipline. Some popular fusion-style group fitness classes include Les Mills BODYFLOW and Piloxing.

8) Personal training
More Canadians than ever are choosing to work with personal trainers to accelerate their workout results. Trainers create customized fitness plans, offer advice for healthy eating and provide one-on-one motivational coaching to reach fitness goals safely and with proper form. Personal trainers are required to achieve and maintain their Personal Training Specialist certification, and are encouraged to continuously upgrade their qualifications to improve their expertise.

9) Working with certified and experienced fitness professionals
Like hiring an electrician or an accountant, it's important to research and identify certified, qualified fitness professionals to help structure and guide your fitness routine. Canadians can now find and assess the credentials of registered fitness professionals in their area using repscanada, the Canadian Register of Exercise and Fitness Professionals.

10) Body weight training
Using your own body weight to create resistance is a growing workout trend among Canadian fitness professionals and consumers. This form of exercise builds strength and muscle and burns fat without the need for equipment, making it easy to get started and less intimidating for beginners. TRX and the Lebert Equalizer are examples of body weight training systems that enable people to manoeuvre their own body weight while doing movements like lunges, push-ups and pull-ups. 

Expert perspectives:
Rod Macdonald, Vice President, canfitpro
"Functional fitness remains at the top because it's a practical, low impact way to strengthen and tone, with the side benefit that it improves our ability to do everyday physical tasks like shovelling snow and carrying groceries. HIIT workouts came in a close second because they're so efficient at improving heart health, reducing body fat and lowering risk for chronic disease.  It's a good sign that life and wellness coaching, as well as nutrition and healthy eating, have risen to the top three and four positions. This reinforces the importance of eating well and expert coaching to complement your fitness routine. You need the right knowledge, motivation and fuel for fitness to be as effective as possible."

Maureen 'Mo' Hagan, Vice President of Fitness Innovation and Development, GoodLife Fitness and canfitpro
"It's interesting to see how Functional Fitness and HIIT, are incorporated into many of the other trends on the list. For example, express workouts are often HIIT based, functional movements should be at the basis of older adult training and are often part of the prescription that a personal trainer will give you, and bodyweight exercises are often functionally based. Functional Fitness and HIIT have become the basis on the majority of fitness programs and routines."

Tosca Reno, Certified Nutritional Therapy practitioner, author of The Eat Clean Diet and Tosca Reno's Eat-Clean Foundations powered by canfitpro
"Healthy eating is an essential part of achieving your fitness goals. I counsel people to minimize sugar and focus on whole, natural foods, with lots of vegetables and lean protein sources, like chicken and fish. Food is fuel for your body. If you want your workout to be effective, you need to feed your body nutrient rich foods that will power your muscles and achieve optimal health."

About canfitpro
canfitpro is the largest provider of education in the Canadian fitness industry. Founded in 1993, canfitpro delivers accessible, quality education, certifications, conferences, trade shows, and membership services. canfitpro's over 100,000 members include some of the world's finest fitness professionals, health club operators, industry suppliers, and fitness consumers.

Media/Photo Opportunities

  • National and local subject matter experts available upon request
  • Photos and videos of each trend available upon request
  • On camera examples of each trend available upon request

SOURCE Canadian Fitness Professionals Inc. (canfitpro)

Image with caption: "Fitness professionals predict the top 10 most effective fitness trends for 2016 in an annual survey by canfitpro. Life and wellness coaching and healthy eating join functional fitness and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) among the leading Canadian fitness trends for the coming year. (CNW Group/Canadian Fitness Professionals Inc. (canfitpro))". Image available at:

Image with caption: "Fitness professionals predict the top 10 most effective fitness trends for 2016 in an annual survey by canfitpro. Life and wellness coaching and healthy eating join functional fitness and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) among the leading Canadian fitness trends for the coming year. (CNW Group/Canadian Fitness Professionals Inc. (canfitpro))". Image available at:

For further information: Media Contact: Holly Dunn, Dunn & Associates Communications and Public Affairs Inc.,, 902-422-6014


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