In a world full of fitness trackers and other gadgetry, you might expect the big trends this year to revolve around tech. But these days, words like freedom and flexibility—not smart watches and wireless headphones—are getting more attention.
The three big trends in 2015 mark a shift within the fitness industry away from one-size-fits-all workouts to flexible training plans customized for the individual.
1. Joining just one gym? Fughetaboutit.
Remember those days when you drove to your local gym, plopped down a huge initiation fee, got a 15-minute tour, and then went home, promising yourself you'd start going there everyday, but you never did?
The fitness industry has moved beyond that model, with fitness companies delivering workouts to your living room or giving you the opportunity to select the gym or fitness class that fits your schedule.
Two of the more popular programs out there are DailyBurn and FitMob. DailyBurn brings the workout to you via streaming workout videos from high-end trainers. You give a little bit of information about your weight goals, the types of workouts you like and your fitness goals. Then a 30-day workout video plan that can be streamed on almost any type of device—Android and iOS devices, Roku, Google TV, Microsoft Xbox 360, and Apple TV—will be sent directly to you. All you need is an Internet connection.
A membership to DailyBurn costs $10 a month; for another $5 you can also get DailyBurn's Ignite program, a customized diet plan with recipes and nutrition advice.
The pros: You get incredibly high-quality workouts; some of these cardio and strength workouts are seriously tough. You can do it in the comfort of your own home and on your own schedule. This program works especially well for people who are intimidated by the gym scene, who travel often for work and want to keep up their regular routines, and for new moms who want to be able to work out without finding a babysitter or worrying about daycare.
The cons: There's something to be said about the motivating atmosphere of an actual class. It's a lot easier to blow off a workout if no one is going to notice you weren't there. And then there's the equipment issue. Many of the workouts are equipment free, except for maybe a yoga mat and block. However, some of the more hardcore strength and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes require weights and other equipment. DailyBurn includes an online shopping site with pretty much all of the equipment you might need for sale. You have to factor the extra cost of equipment—as well as the amount of space it will take to store—as you decide whether to invest in the program.
Fitmob, which started in the San Francisco and has spread to Seattle, Austin, Dallas, Portland and Philadelphia (with more cities coming soon), aims to put an end to shackling gym memberships. By joining Fitmob, you gain access via the Fitmob Passport into the most popular and varied fitness classes throughout your city. On any given day, you should be able to find a class—think Pilates, outdoor bootcamp, CrossFit and Zumba—that works with your schedule. And you'll enhance your fitness routine by trying out new ways to keep fit.
If you'd rather just head to the gym, Fitmob's Gym Access Passport allows you to try out different gyms in your area, all at the click of a button. Fitmob also rewards you for working out by charging you less, the more classes you take each week. One class a week costs $15, two classes a week costs only $10 and three are just $5.
There are also MobTribes, small-group personal training sessions for $29 per person. A group of between four and six "Fitmobbers" designate a time and place they'd like to meet twice weekly for six weeks. Fitmob matches them with a certified personal trainer.
The pros: If you're a group-exercise regular who likes to try out new classes, then Fitmob is for you. The variety of classes and available times is impressive, and if you're traveling, you can easily find a new class or try a new gym for free. This program works best for the seasoned fitness buff because jumping into a new class requires a bit of coordination and skill level.
The cons: There are sometimes only a limited number of "Fitmob" spaces in a particular class. The site's constantly changing payment structure is somewhat confusing as well. Try to get in during a special promotional period such as an unlimited year for only $59. The regular monthly unlimited pricing is $99.