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From Tech to Zen: 2017 Home Gym Trends

The Bay Area may be overrun with fitness options — group classes, private sessions, outdoor recreation opportunities — but the good old home gym will never die. Particularly for us fitness-obsessed Northern Californians, we have to have options for those rainy days when we just don’t feel like leaving the house.

We’ve come a long way from the era of clunky treadmills in a dusty basement corner, though. In 2017, home gyms are an eclectic mix of technology-meets-zen. We asked Lark Miller, NSCA CSCS ACE CPT and owner of Infinite Fitness personal training in downtown San Francisco, to weigh in on this trend. He told us “In the past, a well-equipped home gym was packed full of equipment. The modern home gym is more about open floor space, with a handful of elegantly designed minimalist tools that can easily tuck away to transform the space into something that looks like a dance or yoga studio.”

Keeping that minimalist mentality in mind, here are the top home-gym trends this year:

1. Fitness wearables
Wearables from brands like Apple, Misfit, Garmin, EFOSMH, Pebble Time, Juboury, Samsung, Basis, Jawbone, Fitbit, Nike, and many more include smart watches, wristbands, and even smart glasses — which Juniper Research says will reach about 1.5 billion in sales this year. These devices capture biometrics like heart rate, steps taken, and calories burned, and some of them also measure external conditions like GPS, barometric (elevation) change, and UV strength. This data is parsed and fed back to you as feedback on your fitness. The International Data Corporation Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker reports that worldwide sales of wearable devices went up 163 percent in 2015[1]. If you haven’t bought one yet, you’re missing a major fitness trend.

2. Streaming online classes and apps
If you prefer someone telling you what to do, but still don’t want to leave your house, streaming online classes and fitness apps are your tech du jour. They’re cheap, portable, and easy to operate — although they can definitely be tough! More and more options pop up in this fitness category every day, but just a sample few include Yogaglo (unlimited yoga classes from great teachers in a range of styles, by subscription), 7 Minute Workout (a downloadable app that’s pretty self-explanatory), and Booya Fitness (offering a huge variety of streaming workout types).

3. A remote trainer
Hire an expert from afar! These days, a lot of personal trainers offer Skype, Facetime, or Google Hangout sessions so that it doesn’t matter where each of you live. Remote wellness coaches are also de rigueur. They differ from personal trainers in that they offer not just fitness coaching, but support with things like nutrition, lifestyle, and overall health and wellbeing. Both personal trainers and wellness coaches will help you establish and then stay accountable to both short and long-term goals, and will check in with you regularly about your progress.

4. Body weight training
Body weight training is trending in commercial gyms, and the rage is bleeding over into home fitness as well. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal just released their annual survey of worldwide fitness trends and ranked this one number two. Using your body’s own weight as a form of resistance training means you need very little equipment, which is great for those without a lot of space, or who just like their space uncluttered.

5. Mobility rollers
Usually made of foam, but also available in hard rubber and wood, mobility rollers relieve muscle tightness. This technique is also called “self myofascial release,” which sounds pretty esoteric but basically means “self-massage.” Mobility rollers typically work on specific large muscle groups like the hamstrings or glutes. They target trigger points where knots tend to form in muscles, and increase circulation in those areas, as well as healing problem areas.

6. Yoga
Yoga is not going out of style, and it’s one of the best and easiest ways to stay in shape and simultaneously decrease stress at home. As far as equipment goes, you only need a mat, although some people like to use props such as blocks, bolsters, and straps. Like we mentioned, you can access streaming yoga classes with excellent teachers, download zillions of yoga apps, or, if you have some experience studying under a teacher, just wing it. There are also plenty of great instructional books available to lead you through the basics of yoga at home. San Francisco yoga legend Rusty Wells has a great book out called Bhakti Flow Yoga: A Training Guide for Practice and Life that gives insight into yoga as a practice and, more pragmatically, provides illustrated ideas for poses and flows you can do at home.

7. Alternative motion machines
Okay, we will mention one actual piece of large gym equipment that’s hot in home gyms right now. Alternative motion machines are sort of like a cross between an elliptical machine and a treadmill and a stairstepper, with suspended pedals that mimic running and stair climbing but are low-to-non impact. These machines have been in commercial gyms for years, but affordable home versions are just starting to become available. Look for options made by Precor, Octane, Life Fitness, and NordicTrack.

[1] http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/forecast-top-10-fitness-trends-2016

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