2020 fitness trends — and where to find them in Charlotte – Charlotte Observer

Jamie Scott, founder of Jamie Scott Fitness, said he carefully selects trainers who complete continuing education and meet other professional standards.
Jamie Scott, founder of Jamie Scott Fitness, said he carefully selects trainers who complete continuing education and meet other professional standards. CharlotteFive

It’s January. You’ve fastened your Apple Watch onto your wrist, signed up for a HIIT class and hired a personal trainer. Little did you know, you’re the perfect example of this year’s fitness climate.

The American College of Sports Medicine published a Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2020, citing wearable technology, group training and personal training as some of the top themes for the year. CharlotteFive talked to local fitness professionals for their take on the top trends and shared some of the most popular places to get involved.

(1) Wearable technology

Following Google’s recent acquisition of Fitbit, it’s no wonder that wearable tech made it to the top of the list. If you’ve paired your smartwatch with your workout equipment or tracked your HIIT sesh on your wrist, you’ve likely experienced the exercise-focused benefits of the modern tech.

“People love data when it comes to their fitness. I believe wearable tech is going to be the trend in 2020 and continue to be for years to come,” said Thaddeus Chevere, Chief Knowledge Officer at Hustle House.

“Wearable technology can be a game changer,” he added. “Having a step goal is the easiest way to burn more calories throughout the day. Someone can come see me for one hour, but if they sit around all day it’s going to be difficult for them to reach their goals. You can sync your MyFitnessPal with your Fitbit, and you can track the calories you burn vs. the calories you consume. It makes reaching your fitness goals just a little bit easier.

Thaddeus Chevere of Hustle House puts data from wearable teach to use to improve both his workouts and sleep. Courtesy of Hustle House. CharlotteFive

“Another reason [for wearable technology] is sleep tracking. Ever since I started using the Fitbit, I’ve averaged two more hours of sleep because it told me what time I fell asleep, how many times I woke up, and what time I got out of bed. It made me realize I wasn’t sleeping enough and that I needed to prioritize my sleep for optimal performance at work and in the gym.

Not all exercise professionals believe wearable tech is the future of fitness, however. Some gyms around Charlotte are ditching the tech in favor of “naked” classes. Enter Khali Yoga, which opened recently in NoDa.

“We created Khali Yoga Center’s practice rooms to be technology free because we found that technology was getting in the way of self-observation,” said Lindsey Crisp, co-founder of Khali Yoga Center.

Lindsey Crisp said Khali Yoga Center — which she co-founded — believes wearable technology can get in the way of self-observation. Courtesy of Khali Yoga Center CharlotteFive

“There are things that students can observe about themselves through yoga that computers don’t track. Factor in all the features that most fitness devices have including text messages, calls and notifications, and students are left with a distraction strapped to their wrists,” she added.

“Khali Yoga Center is a place where people can unplug and learn to listen to their bodies. We found it best to leave computers out of this equation. We believe that the body can give you all the answers you need… It just takes practice listening to it.”

(2) High-intensity interval training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training is a cardiovascular exercise that combines intense bursts of activity and recovery periods. This fitness trend, known for its muscle-building and fat-burning benefits, has taken the world by storm, popping up in boutique studios and personal apps.

Charlotte studios that focus on high-intensity interval training include the newly opened Barry’s Bootcamp. Courtesy of Barry’s Bootcamp CharlotteFive

If you want to experience it firsthand in Charlotte, consider dropping in for a class at the newly opened Barry’s, a bootcamp-style class with its iconic Red Room. Or, book a sweat session at MADabolic, where cardio, strength and conditioning intervals are combined to build a lean, athletic physique.

The ever-popular Orangetheory Fitness always draws a crowd as well. Its 13 locations near Charlotte make it simple to find a studio by you, whether you’re in South End, Ballantyne, Lake Norman or beyond.

(3) Group training

Sometimes, you may find more motivation when you’re sweating (read: suffering) with other people at the gym. In fact, a study found that 95 percent of individuals who began a weight-loss program with others actually completed the program. The completion rate dropped to 76 percent for those who tried to take on the program alone.

The recently opened Eat the Frog fitness studio features group training. Courtesy of Eat the Frog CharlotteFive

Ready to jump in? Try Eat the Frog, a boutique fitness studio that recently opened in Midtown. The Mark-Twain-inspired name essentially translates to starting the day by accomplishing the thing you least want to do. The studio combines cardio, strength and recovery to help you reach your fitness goals in an environment with others.

Jamie Scott Fitness offers over 60 unique group classes per week, ranging from HIIT to strength training to TRX circuits. The boutique space and intimate class sizes allow the trainers — called Motivators — to provide personal attention to each attendee.

The newly opened Hive Fitness also offers group fitness options like barre, bootcamps, cycling and yoga. This innovative concept reimagines the “boutique gym” experience by providing multiple options under one roof, so you don’t need to choose between a yoga or spin studio membership.

(4) Training with free weights

While boutique fitness studios offer niche, fun workouts, free weights are often much more cost-effective and still render results. Not only can you practice with free weights in the comfort of your own home, outside or at the gym, but you’ll enhance strength and balance.

Incorporate free weights in classes like CorePower Yoga’s Yoga Sculpt. Courtesy of Core Power Yoga CharlotteFive

You can even incorporate free weights into your favorite workouts. CorePower Yoga offers Yoga Sculpt, which blends free weights and cardio with strength training moves like squats and bicep curls.

Another option is a non-traditional yoga class focused on reimagining the “yoga” experience at The Sweat Method. The studio prides itself on music-focused classes that go against the norms of traditional yoga. Give the Fusion class a try to incorporate weight training and cardio into your hot yoga practice.

The Sweat Method’s Fusion class blends weight training and cardio with hot yoga. Courtesy of The Sweat Method CharlotteFive

(5) Personal training

Personal training can benefit both individuals new to the gym as well as individuals who want to elevate their workout routines — it’s all about seeking help to reach a fitness goal.

The Exercise Coach, a newly opened studio in SouthPark, helps clients reach their fitness goals — whether for weight loss, health or strength — in just 20 minutes per session. The nearby Bodywise also specializes in personal training, but also offers sport training competition prep training and health and wellness training.

Already a member of a traditional gym? Many of the local fitness centers like the YMCA, Planet Fitness and LA Fitness have on-site personal trainers to help you reach your fitness goals. I highly recommend Daniel Christian at the Childress Klein YMCA in Uptown — I could barely run a mile, and within a month was clocking in over three miles before 7 a.m.

(6) Exercise is Medicine

Exercise is Medicine is an initiative — managed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) — designed to merge physical fitness and clinical care. From including exercise in treatment plans to recommending patients to qualified fitness professionals, the goal is to improve overall health and well being.

“The fact that exercise is being used as a form of medicine or treatment is great,” said Dr. Lucinda Demarco, chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare of the Carolinas. “There are so many confirmed benefits of exercise that positively impact your overall health, such as reducing the risk of conditions like heart disease, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and dementia. Exercise helps build muscles, increase blood flow and reduces inflammation. When you get your blood pumping, you increase endorphins and eventually you just feel better overall.”

(7) Bodyweight training

Sometimes, it’s impossible to get to the gym. And even when you do make it, it’s too crowded to find a spot to place a mat.

Enter bodyweight training. Squats, push-ups, pull-ups, burpees and all the other painful, yet effective exercises can be completed with your most valuable gym tool — your own body.

If you prefer to suffer and sweat with a group, consider a TRX class with a space designed specifically for bodyweight training. Surge Fitness offers TRX classes to help enhance strength, flexibility and core stability. The studio also hosts Core Shred, a class that incorporates bodyweight movements like crunches and hovers. Best of all, the classes are capped at 15-20 attendees, so you won’t feel the stress of New Year’s resolution crowds.

(8) Fitness programs for older adults

Don’t skip the workout when your parents or grandparents are in town. Studies show our boomer parents are following us to Charlotte, so get ready to have them hanging out with you everywhere. At the gym, you can. opt for a low-impact workout class designed for older adults.

The YMCA of Greater Charlotte offers Seniors Classes, including options such as cardio strength, chair aerobics, tai chi, circuit training and more. In addition, Body and Soul Senior Fitness offers low-impact aerobics, resistance training and yoga in local churches around Charlotte on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays You can view their class offerings here. Check out the Silver Sneakers website, as well, for additional senior fitness options in the Charlotte area.

(9) Health/wellness coaching

A wellness coach employs a one-on-one approach to provide goal-setting, encouragement and support to help his or her client reach their short and long-term goals.

CharlotteFive writer Vanessa Infanzon provided insight into how to select a proper health coach, citing specialization, availability and fit as the top three parameters. Health’s Angels Charlotte provides a good starting point to explore local health coaches, who each specialize in different areas of health and mindfulness.

(10) Employing certified fitness professionals

This one may seem obvious, but with the internet age, it’s difficult to know whether the workout you found on Pinterest is legitimate. Skip the fitness board and head to a gym with a trusted trainer instead.

Jamie Scott Fitness offers over 60 group classes per week, featuring “Motivators” to provide personal attention. Courtesy of Jamie Scott Fitness CharlotteFive

Jamie Scott, founder of Jamie Scott Fitness, carefully selects the trainers for his team.

“Look at if the individual is doing this as a hobby or as a profession. Individuals who do this as a profession tend to stay on top of continuing education vs. people who do this as a hobby searching internet sites,” he said.

Whether your fitness goals fit into this list or you’re trying something different, all that matters is staying active and finding what’s right for you and your lifestyle.

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