Just inside the expo entrance, people swayed across monkey bars and hung from aerial silk on Aktiv’s adult jungle gym.
Taking pop culture to the gym — think “American Ninja Warrior” and “Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge” — is the newest workout trend, Aktiv founder and CEO Bryan Green said at the annual IDEA World Fitness and Nutrition Expo.
People “want to have fun, as opposed to that sort of old notion of ‘No pain, no gain,’” Green said. “That’s really out. They want to train in a social fitness sort of way.”
Green was one of about 14,000 fitness professionals and gym junkies who roamed one of the largest international fitness gatherings at the Las Vegas Convention Center in search of the hottest workout and nutrition trends.
Group fitness classes took center stage at the expo, including cycling, which is surging in popularity. RealRyder bicycles, which tilt side-to-side to mimic on-road cycling, were one of several biking options shown.
People are ditching the treadmills and elliptical trainers — few appeared at the show — in favor of peer support through group activity.
Science is in
Research-driven products, including ones that track body chemistry and provide workout data, are becoming increasingly important to people who want to be fit.
InBalance displayed a scale that measures weight, fat and muscle mass, body-mass index and body-water composition — though the equipment is generally for fitness centers rather than home use.
“The industry has outdated methods of measuring progress,” said Gisselle Naranjo, a representative from 3-D body scanner producer Styku. “People now are very visual.”
Another new product is a twist on an old favorite, kettlebells: gripbells, which have multiple grip points and a polyurethane cover and become heavier as the holder changes grip. They run from $46 to $120, depending on whether you buy a single item or pair and the Gripbell’s weight.
And Primfit is working on an athletic shoe with soles that double as Bosu balls, so wearers challenge their balance skills while exercising. The shoe, available for preorder, costs $149.
To the gym and beyond
In fashion, laser cutouts and layered looks are in. Black workout outfits with vibrant splashes of color thrown into the mix continue to be popular.
Fit meets function when it comes to fitness fashion, said Tatyane Martins of Equilibrium Activewear, whose clientele is change from slim, young women to people of all ages and sizes.
“Women want clothing that’s functional but also very form fitting and good-looking,” Martins said. “So you can wear that not only to the gym, but also to run errands and go out with your girlfriends.”
Though solids are in right now, most clothing stores at the expo still sold patterned clothing and an array of colors in every style.
Vegan, gluten-free and organic foods are still trending as people become more cognizant of what they’re putting in their bodies, said Justin South, field marketing manager for Perfect Bar, an all-natural protein bar.
But people want convenient healthy food choices, too.
Protein powders also are making a comeback, now tailored to the everyday healthy eater over musclemen looking to power up before weightlifting. Instead, many are using the powder as meal supplements on-the-go.
At the expo, Anthony Bloom of BN Labs said the company’s vegan powder, which costs $60 for a 37-ounce bottle, made up 70 percent of sales. Also at the event, Flora Inc. promoted its powdered blend of greens. Still, Bloom cautioned: supplements should be used as part of a balanced diet.
Keep these products on your radar:
- Takeya water bottles, insulated and available in a wide variety of colors
- IntelliRoll, a form-fitting foam roller designed by a chiropractor
- Yooli’s Farmer’s Cheese Cremes, yogurt-like high-protein and low-lactose snacks
- Gripbell, which feels heavier or lighter depending on your grip