Lifestyle 4 Emerging Fitness Subgenres

Published on January 29th, 2013 | by Nick Coe


4 Emerging Fitness Subgenres Every Athlete Should Know

The subgenres of fitness that are coming about in the mainstream exercise world, with America as the command center, are truly exciting. It should be a subject of great interest to fitness enthusiasts everywhere. The implications of how they’re transforming the western exercise industry will in many ways define the cultural adaptations to things like obesity and economic fallout.

There are many other trends, but these are the ones that I see really carving out the path moving forward into 2020. In general, they show an overall divergence from corporate dominance, to independent and smaller brand name franchise training.

The fitness market is diversifying in response to changing dynamics, social needs and perceptions, and ambitions. Let’s dive in.

4 Emerging Fitness Subgenres


I live on an island in the Pacific Northwest. It’s not very big really, at least not the commercialized area. However, there is a CrossFit gym, and it has an impressive amount of members, considering the meager population, who shell out about $150-$200 a month to train there.

How do I know? Well I happened to meet and have coffee with the owner. She bought the commercial space, and despite what I thought, merely has to display the brand name. She has no financial obligations to CrossFit.

The last gym I worked for as a physical trainer invested a small fortune into making an exercise room especially for CrossFit type workouts, and paid around $1200 a pop for trainers to get CrossFit certified. Yeah. We charged members $45 a month and offered 3 tailored workouts a week.

What does it signify? A break from traditional machine and free weight exercise regimens. A desire for many average gym goers to not only look like athletes and soldiers, but perform like them. Here is a quote from an article titled “Painful, borderline psychotic

“CrossFit workouts are short and intense, and each day features a different routine, called a Workout Of The Day, or WOD. Lovett referred to WODs as “the main event or game” of the training session and they are posted on the website the night before.”

In about 12 years, this twist on barbell Olympics has gone from a few members to having an officially recognized certification process, a solidified brand within the fabric of America, a sports team, national competitions, and even a gym in my humble island town. Impressive!

There are more subgenres following their model and competing for the wave of members coming on line all the time. TRX is one of them.

TRX Suspension Training

The TRX evolution is indicative of the American fitness world budding from a more aesthetically driven consumer base, into amateur gymnasts that seek muscle endurance, core domination, increased flexibility and stability, and functional progressive training. It’s also about minimalism in a floundering economic model.

One could even say it’s a fringe part of the consumer shift to portable convenience.

Instead of an entire gym, why not just get a set of dumbbells, maybe a couple kettlebells, and two adjustable straps that serve as a leverage or pulley system? Through the manipulation of body weight using stirrups, straps, and gravity, impressive workouts can get enviable results.

The TRX model resembles the CrossFit route, and there may soon come a day when there will be big demand for TRX certified specialists, and TRX specific gyms. The gyms already exist, and according to sales and the spread of TRX training, it won’t be long. TRX is melding with the gym class movement, and is definitely another truly astonishing alteration in American fitness awareness and implementation.

For those considering it, check out this article, TRX: 6 Things to Know Before Trying a Class.

Body Weight Training

This is of course, at least in part, being driven by the economic depression, and the uncertainty of where the American experiment is going into the end of the first decade of the 21st century.

There are tons of people who love staying in-shape and working out, but simply cannot afford to pay for trainers, classes, and gym memberships. Additionally, they’re on social welfare programs, and cannot afford the tremendous amounts of food and supplements that the mainstream exercise industry pushes.

A recent Time article makes it perfectly clear what some of the other reasons are.

Latest Fitness Trends: Body Weight training Takes Centerstage

Body weight training, which currently sits at third place behind certified fitness professionals and strength training…”

That’s a pretty powerful statement, and in the article you’ve got the American College of Sports Medicine backing it up. It’s going to be 2013 soon, and yet exercising without spending a dime is among the top three most popular trends in what’s been typically considered among the richest of nations?

Forget the stock market, there’s your economic indicator.

Mixed Martial Arts

I grew up in Phoenix, but prefer small towns. In the last three I’ve lived in, the local bars are always overflowing on UFC nights. I’ve never been a diehard follower of the movement, but on approach to these bars while the fights are going I’m reminded of pubs in England during crucial soccer matches.

Consider this parallel: Before Rome is historically said to have imploded and fallen, it went through a fanatical love affair with bloody gladiator games in the coliseum. The television is America’s coliseum, and the fights are serious, although there are no chariots and lions yet.

From The Examiner: UFC boosts Fuel TV to new heights.

“The Fuel TV Network posted 10 straight months, including 44 straight weeks of year-over-year audience increases.”

Keep in mind that this is happening while traditional TV is dying; surrendering it’s profits to the virtual realm of smart phones, iPods, Tablets, and Notebooks. Stars of UFC then go on to sell entire products lines of fitness equipment, workout at home videos, and all else.

American Fitness 2020

Considering these four interlaced and coagulating trends, where do you see American fitness in the year 2020? I see the entire landscape changing, in a similar fashion to the overall work force. Going from centralized to smaller niche specializations. I see fitness becoming both a personal and an increasingly group/community centered experience for those dealing with obesity and disease.

Regardless, it will be an interesting journey, because the American fitness revolution is still in its infancy.

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